|I've tried to imagine what driving would be like if all roads were privately owned, and all I envision is chaos and zig-zag-like interstate highways. Owners could shut down their private roads at any time for any reason, and there would be endless stops and tolls as one small section of private road ran into another.|
Oh my God! You've just suggested something to me: what if ALL THE BAKERIES AND SUPERMARKETS WERE PRIVATELY OWNED??!! Think of the chaos! The disaster waiting to happen! At any moment -- for the slightest whim -- the owners of all the bakeries and all the supermarkets could snap their haughty manicured fingers and shut down...we would all starve!! Much better to have a system like Venezuela, or the former Soviet Union, where the government, in its beneficent wisdom, owns all food production and all food distribution, and "the people" get what they want (as well as what they so richly deserve).
(Now, tell me again, why the former Soviet Union had food shortages of everything, but especially of wheat and bread; and why it was the greedy, capitalist United States -- with its shameful privately-owned farms, bakeries, and supermarkets, that had to prop up the The Great Social Experiment in the former Workers' Paradise by exporting millions of tons of wheat and wheat products to them? Do tell me. I thought I knew once; but your argument has gotten me so excited about the wonderful possibilities of government ownership and government management, that I've quite simply forgotten.)
If all property were privately owned, I think it would pretty much mean an end to America's great parks.
Without doubt. Look at all the beautiful parks in Communist China, Communist Russia, and Communist Cuba. Such happy countries.
I mean, why would a super-rich land owner want to compromise his private shangri-la by making it available to others for a relative pittance? If, say, Billy Gates owned Yosemite,what incentive would he have to make it available to anyone else?
That's a great argument. That has suggested to me something else that's almost as horrible as private ownership of parks by a capitalist pig like Bill Gates: what if...just "if" ... a lot of computer software were owned by Bill Gates??!! I'm not saying that's actually the case; I'm just presenting you with what lawyers call a "hypothetical." Imagine if Gates owned and controlled much of the software that people use on a daily basis: would he have any incentive to share it with the "proles" like us? I doubt it. He'd horde it for himself. And even if he did, grudgingly, let others make use of it, he would charge outrageous, exorbitant prices for it. Obviously, if Gates owned and controlled software, ONLY THE RICH WOULD BE ABLE TO AFFORD IT. That follows as night from day.
The free-market economists are always fond of pointing out that prices are lowest, quality highest, and consumer contentment greatest, in precisely those industries that have the LEAST government interference -- the clearest example being the computer industry (including both hardware and software). These economists are obviously in the pay of that industry -- probably also in the pay of the oil industry (because all people who doubt government beneficence are, by definition, in the pay of the oil industry). So we don't have to read their statements or study their arguments. They can all be confidently ignored.
I think our national parks are true national treasures,
So I'm told.
and I certainly would not like to see them turned into strip malls and condo complexes by entrepeneurs. The same holds true for me on a city level. I'm from beautiful San Diego--and if the city were minus Balboa Park and Mission Bay Park, it would lose much of its appeal.
Apparently, it only appeals to the sort of people who disapprove of strip malls and condo complexes. Most people -- as investors might tell you -- actually like strip malls and condo complexes, which is the reason such investors can profit by them. But who cares what most people want. We need to serve the elite, because...well, because... ah, because, well, they're better than others. (I knew there was a reason.)
And let us never forget that ALL PRIVATE INVESTMENT in ALL SECTORS OF A CAPITALIST ECONOMY are low-brow and meant to appeal to only the lowest common denominator. For example, there are zero investors and entrepreneurs in the elite, high-end alcoholic beverage sector: Moet-Hennessy? A shabby little company with no clientèle for its hoity-toity product line -- only beer companies make money. I'm sure this is true of real estate investors.
Apparently, what you really enjoy about your city-owned parks, is the fact that even people who have no means or time to enjoy the park are forced to pay for it so that you can enjoy and tell everyone else how wonderful it is ("You really ought to get away from that drudge job you have and take a walk in Balboa park.")
What most people like about national parks is the fact they don't have to pay a fair price for what they enjoy...other people, living, let us say, in Trenton, New Jersey, are also paying for it, and are working too hard and too long to take time off, fly to one of our glorious national treasures, and smell the flowers (or smell the geysers).
Same for public transportation. What fair-minded person could possibly complain about a system -- such as the NY City subway and bus system -- in which everyone pays one price, and where those traveling short distances are subsidizing those traveling long distances. I appreciate the Rule of Socialism that you have brought to my attention:
IT IS INHERENTLY UNFAIR FOR ANYONE -- BUT ESPECIALLY SOMEONE WHO IS CULTURED AND SENSITIVE -- TO HAVE TO PAY A PRICE FOR SOMETHING THAT REFLECTS WHAT THAT SOMETHING IS ACTUALLY WORTH.
You should always have to pay less than what it's worth by means of a subsidy from someone, somewhere.
I'm glad we've had this chat. You've set me straight on a number of things.