Saturday, August 8, 2015

Do markets put resources into the best hands?

Reply to replies: "senseless human greed"

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You're system is far worse than the current because at least a poor person's vote is equal to a rich person's and thus there's at least constant pressure to meet the demands of the majority of people who need the most protection and help for the common good. - Lynx_Fox
You seem to think that people only spend their money in ways that will give them the maximum benefit for it, when if anything the vast majority of the population has shown time and time again that they will gladly blow money on stupid shit that has no potential benefit for their lives. - Falconer360
In a representative democracy, we elect governmental representatives to make good decisions for the welfare of all citizens - not popular decisions, or decisions that best profit GM or Monsanto. - billvon
That's right. And those other things will often be mythology, superstitions, not-in-my-backyard syndrome, short-sightedness, incredulity, unsupported gullible "factoids" or other things rather than empirically-based scientific views with a whole view to the common good that should decide allocation by representatives. - Lynx_Fox

Let's try and use all of this to construct an individual for us to consider and study...

Chris gladly blows his money on stupid shit. He inherited $50,000 dollars from his rich uncle. Rather than spend it on college... he spent it on a corvette. When his grandfather died... he inherited $20,000. Rather than using this money to start a business... he donated all of it to Joel Osteen. Chris loves Christ almost as much as he loves cars. Except he never reads the Bible... or perhaps he missed the story about the prodigal (wasteful) son. Just like he missed the story about the talents. Just like he missed the story about the protestant work ethic.

It stands to reason that Chris's value judgements are extremely impaired. There's one very important exception to this rule... democracy! Even though Chris consistently spends his money on the wrong things... he consistently spends his votes on the right representatives. He doesn't choose representatives that are just as wasteful as he is. Neither does he choose representatives who promise to take money from the rich and give it to him. Instead, he chooses representatives who will steer the country in the most valuable directions.

Chris is the modern day equivalent of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In the private sector... he's Mr. Hyde. He makes horrible decisions. But in the public sector... he's Dr. Jekyll... his value judgements are impeccable!

This story is so far from credible that it's kinda funny. It would make for an entertainingly absurd movie.

Markets work because stupid decisions (aka mistakes) decrease your influence (over how society's limited resources are used). Because a decision can't be that stupid if it increases your influence/power/control (in the long run).

Is the decision to rob a bank a stupid decision? Most reasonable people would argue that it is. Chances are good that you'll be caught or killed. Ending up in jail or dead really decreases your influence. But what if somebody robs a bank and gets away with it? Then clearly their decision wasn't that stupid.

Is the decision to drop out of school a stupid decision? Most reasonable people would argue that it is. Dropping out of school will decrease your chances of getting a good job. There's plenty of evidence that education level and income are positively correlated. But what if somebody drops out of school and starts an extremely successful business? Then clearly their decision to drop out of school wasn't that stupid.

If the intelligence of decisions is not strongly correlated with income/influence... then why bother endeavoring to make intelligent decisions? Why not randomly decide whether you go to, or stay in, school? Why not randomly decide whether you use condoms? Why not randomly decide whether you use drugs? Why bother seriously considering and contemplating the consequences of your actions?

You guys really need to get your stories straight. If markets don't truly reward alertness, effort, productivity, responsibility, competence, diligence, research, resourcefulness, ingenuity, hindsight, insight and foresight.... then yeah, there's no point in giving taxpayers the freedom to choose where their taxes go. But if markets truly fail to put society's limited resources into the best hands... then there's really no point in giving anybody the freedom to choose anything. If this is how you truly perceive reality... then prove it by starting a thread where you share your version of reality with others.

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