(UTOPIA) Tax Alert : Stop 150% tax pledge increase

Levi Pearson levi at cold.org
Wed Apr 16 13:52:33 MDT 2008

Michael Torrie <torriem at gmail.com> writes:
> So saying that private companies and competition always brings about the
> lowest cost is just not always true.  In many cases the intricacies of
> the technologies and markets, particularly in the broadband industry,
> merely lead to higher prices and greater profits for the telcos.  And
> lower qualities of service.

(This reply is not directed specifically at Michael, or any single

Wait, so you're telling me that the free market isn't the solution to
all of the world's ills?  That turning everything over to the hands of
private companies won't make everything better?  But governments are
always inefficient and bumbilng and useless, and Corporations are
paragons of efficiency and always meet the desires of the market!  May
the Invisible Hand strike you down for your blasphemy!

Sorry about that.  I just don't understand why so many people insist
on simple-minded conceptions about government and politics.  There's
no simple answer to the hard problems of government and economics, and
all the theories are wrong to some large degree.  The IT world deals
with computers, which are incredibly simple and follow logical rules
compared to people in the real world, and still it's full of variously
wrong theories.  Although you can sometimes get away with it in the
computer world, applying a theory filter to give a right/wrong
classification to real-world issues is just asking for failure.

Note that I don't claim to have any 'right' answer here; I'm just
saying that any sort of simple good/bad black/white guideline is
likely to lead to a horribly oversimplified analysis of any real world
problem.  To bring this back on topic, claiming that UTOPIA is bad
because it's done by the government instead of a private corporation
is bordering on idiocy.  That's not a real-world argument, it's an "I
live in an imaginary world where my pet theories about government and
economics accurately describe things" argument, and you deserve to be

Economic and government theories have their place, of course, and
we're all indebted to the political and economic philosophers who came
up with the theories that informed the creation of our society today.
We can probably give them a bit of blame for some of today's social
ills, too.  But the one constant throughout the history of philosophy
is that they've all been wrong.  We can use their theories to guide
our understanding of problems, but slavish adherence to them will
always lead us astray.

Human society is incredibly complex, and we will never come up with a
simple theory to guide government decisions correctly in all cases.
Even if we could, we'd never convince everyone to act based on the
theory, so it would be largely useless.  Any REAL argument for or
against some real-world decision had better be based on some real
analysis of the actual effects and not just some crazy theory-filter.
And even then, the analysis should be approached with the knowledge
that its conclusions may not bear out in reality.  If we could
accurately predict things, we'd never have any failed businesses and
governments wouldn't be so inefficient.

As a final note, let me add that some of the responses to this thread
*did* appear to have some sort of rational analysis behind them, so
you don't all think I'm calling you out.


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