Saturday, September 1, 2012

Privatised Water ...

During the Thatcher years in Britain there was a Spectator cartoon of a ragged, wreck of a man crawling in a desert gasping "privatised water ... privatised water ...". I must have thought it was pretty funny; for some reason anyhow it has stayed with me. The long game, the long term trend - evolution perhaps - is toward privatisation. The usual reasons for socialisation of wealth are falling victim to the pincer movement that dooms anything: (1) it doesn't work well, and (2) a better alternative comes along. We will hang onto something that doesn't work well with hardly a thought, but when something better comes along its days are numbered. That suggests a continued area for growth (entrepreneurial activity): replacing government 'services' with something that works. It's not a matter of going 'full anarchist' - for surely not everything can be privatised at this time - but it's a matter of recognising the rationality of the trend.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Small and Large Freedoms

People in third world countries have small freedoms but they don't have large freedoms. People in the modern first world have large freedoms but they don't have small ones (any more). Bill Whittle - reflecting on his brief trip to Thailand - calls for hitting the sweet spot.

A person in the third world is typically free of micro-regulation - there just isn't enough money to support an army of bureaucrats. Of course if that person were to be successful and accumulate significant capital he would instantly stand out and become a target for the ruling elites (the house of the Chinese rich man is hidden behind an ordinary facade). People know that and so don't try.

Now, in the west, we have (had?) the money, so an army of micro-regulating bureaucrats is quite feasible. And so our small freedoms are curtailed. But we also are seeing more and more of the targeting of the One Percent that will only result in our large freedoms being curtailed as well. People won't bother to try and become successful.