[FoRK] The future of politics (cont'd)

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Thu Feb 11 21:05:51 PST 2010

Ken says:

> I agree with your reasoning. And right back at you, for all the same reasons, regarding the negative impact of large, especially global, sized companies. It is in their best interests, as has been mentioned in here before by someone with initials similar to your own, to suppress ... well just about anything that might give someone else an edge on them.

Absolutely agreed.  (Notice, I thus maintain and justify my claim to some degree of objectivity...)  I don't trust any given company more than any given government, absent the possibility of real competition.  But few monopolies really form (of their own, see below) and even fewer remain for long in the private sector, absent some governmental suppression of competition.

And, too, the real point:  that's the real problem with government of any kind:  no real competition, or at least the potential for total suppression of competition.  Even in our own system, what "competition" actually exists is often largely more charade than substance;  and in the end, the entelechic interest of *government itself* trumps the interests of its constituents ("the people") and its own internal individual actors (politicians, i.e., "the  people's representatives.")

Competition is the process of searching for solutions to some problem in some solution space in parallel.  Less competition, suboptimal solutions.  Coercive suppression of the search process, whether by government (which, obviously, has most of the coercive force), private entity, or some collaboration of the two (aka, corruption) is obviously in nobody's interest but the monopoly interest.

Competition requires a fitness function;  fitness functions require that some candidate solutions are selected while others fail.  *Government itself* (i.e., its structure and form) is generally constructed to be *highly* resistant to being "de-selected."  The result?  No real individual or subgroup choice of law, as just one example;  such things are tied by design to whatever governmental structure has monopoly control of such things in some geographic region.

> Governments do not have any sort of monopoly <grin> on all of those issues you mentioned. They not only use their own resources to control and suppress and erect barriers to entry but also purchase the services of governments to assist them. So, it might be argued that they are even more dangerous in this regard than government. Yes?

I believe that's a bit unclear, but I think I understand what you are asking.  (I think "they" in the second sentence refers to corporations, correct?)  No, I do not agree that private monopolies (and the corpora from which they form) are necessarily more dangerous;  quite the opposite.  They are dangerous, sometimes very, just not necessarily more so than government monopolies.

It's a often a symbiotic relationship:  ultimately in such a case it is government that provides the bedrock of coercive support for predatory, favored, would-be-monopolist private interests (when they deign to do so.)  The fact that government has that coercive power in the first place *enables* this sort of corrupt collusion.  Weaker / smaller / more distributed / less "sovereign" governments = more private competition (and, for that matter, more free competition of ideas and solutions in the public sector as well.)

Conversely, it's only by application of its coercive prerogatives that government can, when it chooses, *maintain* a competitive and sane private environment.  That, indeed, may be one of its only legitimate functions.  (You won't see many "libertarians" etc. making such claims, so give that some thought before pulling out those sticky-note labels next time, some of you.  Not that I haven't said the very same thing many times around here before...)  But it's a very, very difficult needle to thread to argue which applications might be legitimate and which might not.  (This is, as I've said often before, the thorn in the side of my youthful libertarian tendencies.  Once I understood the equivalence of government and monopoly, all the contradictions went away --- but the practical difficulties remain.)

Competition is everything;  high-larious and ironic, isn't it, that those who believe strongly in the positive aspects of an expansive government (let's just call them "the left" and have done) are the Kirk Camerons and Ray Comforts of the political spectrum:  the fundamentalists of great society, social evolution-disbelievers --- despite the fact that they actually do believe in biological evolution.  "This banana proves that government is essentially benign."  So blinded by faith;  and not even wrong.


Re: your startup post, yes indeed, did warm the cockles of my heart.

Now let us continue dancing about architecture... ;-)


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