@Judith, I can try to lay out my reasoning.
A private business (not necessarily corporate) will always be better than any public one. There are a few notions that make it easier to see how that's the case:
1- Anything non-competitive can never be as efficient as anything competitive.
2- A thousand or a million heads think better than a few hundred.
3- No one manages other-people's-money as efficiently as they manage their own.
1- The state is non-competitive, it doesn't go out of business, it doesn't get severely punished from failing to provide, etc, thus it has no real incentives to excel, except for the off-chance that people will protest about its failures, in which case the solution will invariably be to neglect some other service of its funding in order to compensate for this one and shut people up, which takes us to that vicious cycle I mentioned before, where they then have to compensate for whatever they neglected. It's only in public services that you see workers going on strike.
2- Central planning is very small, contained and restricted, unlike the market in which many entrepreneurs and enthusiasts all over the place are free to try new things (even useless things, that sometimes turn out to be useful!), test their ideas, etc. Perhaps the best example of this that I saw was the tech workshops that went on in the 70s (iirc, or maybe the 60s), where many hackers and enthusiasts from all over the place would gather up and show off experimental gadgetry and share and discuss all sorts of weird ideas. Iirc, the more compact computers originated from that.
3- The state is not dealing with its own money, so there's an inherent slack, and it attracts corruption. This also removes or mitigates the liberty to invest in uncertainty or in what may seem unnecessary or even luxurious. This means the state is limited in what ideas it can test. Well, not like the ideas are tested; they are discussed and implemented, and then they're extremely hard to remove if shown to not work.
On top of all of that, as you mentioned, the money is spread thin across many things, so it's always a juggle and something is always lacking funding, and the more things the state does the worse it gets. The gov also operates financed by debt, which is a huge problem, and the businesses it runs are run at a loss, so they can't finance themselves, let alone anything else. As I told Destined, if railroads were built from the ground up in the private market, that would've only been possible if they were made profitable all the way up, while at the gov businesses are grown by compensating losses with tax money all the way, so it inherently builds inefficient businesses, and that's why privatized railroads are still financed by the gov.
On the other hand, the only way you can be successful in the market, is if what you sell is useful or helpful to enough people. A private hospital wouldn't survive if it had half the problems public healthcare has. Any competing hospital that was better than that would get ahead, because that's where people would rather get treated in.
The concern that businesses are doing it for themselves is moot, then. They may or may not be, but it really makes no difference if they are. A psychopath that doesn't feel sympathy for anyone and is egotistical to the core, still has no way to make money in the private market other than by selling a product/service that people think makes their lives better enough that they're willing to buy it.
Fundamentally there's only two ways to make money:
- by offering something people want in return for the money they're willing to give for it.
- by taking people's money, offering nothing in return (aka stealing -- either by force or by deceit, and I'd argue casinos and similar things are included in the latter).
So if they're not stealing, they're engaging in the market, and can only be doing something positive. Well, "positive" isn't the best word to use, and the tobacco companies are the best examples of why. But then governments can't and don't make any difference in that regard. (As far as tobacco goes, govs even capitalized on it, likely for political interests, as those corps probably lobbied). However, eventually it was the market that invented vaping, which is having a greater effect than nicotine patches (I suspect because nicotine patches don't address the physical habituation problems), and it's been gov institutions that have shown the most opposition to it.
The notion to take away from it is that people decide for themselves what makes their own lives better. Some people like smoking. Well, let them have it, but let them have their own health bills too. If we think they're being stupid we can always speak up and spread information, or become entrepreneurial in tackling problems, like is the case with vaping.
If you're concerned about democracy, then that should mean you're concerned about empowering individuals, and that's precisely what the private market does: consumers drive the market, not businesses; and not what the government does: the government empowers groups.
None of this is to say that private markets are perfect. Nothing is. Private markets and the economy are but an extension of ourselves: markets naturally originate as you put people together, as they will naturally trade and separate tasks, etc. And people aren't perfect. But that doesn't mean problems can't be solved. As far as I'm concerned, governments often only cause more problems on top of the problems that arise. You end up with people dying from a healthcare service that is supposed to prevent people from dying, you end up with prohibitions that inflate crime rates (since lots of crime originates around whatever is criminalized), unsafe schools that perpetually do a horrible job at making students (and teachers!) happy to be in school, and that perpetually use absurdly tedious teaching procedures, among many other things.
More often than not the concerns I hear people talking about aren't actually related to the private market. Monopolies are a good example. They are always created/boosted by government intervention, not by free competition. Free competition is the worst fear of any business, big or small. Big corps are often in favor of gov intervention because it usually helps consolidate their dominance on the market.
None of this is also to say that there's no place for government. Perhaps if governments had incentives to improve upon the flaws of the political systems they run under, instead of perpetuating them or inflating them due to all sorts of political interests, then perhaps we could be progressively more reassured that we aren't voting for the end of democracy, or into becoming criminals of victim-less crimes ourselves, or for crashing the economy once again. Maybe there's a place for government as an entity that enforces and actually respects the non-aggression principle and protects us against fraud, catastrophe and foreign threat.
Edited by Skaruts, 21 October 2018 - 03:56 AM.