Solutions often evolve into monopolies, and work well enough that there is not much desire to change them. The phone company monopolies of the last century are an example. However, technology can change the underlying logic so much that the old monopolies make no sense. Communications today is far better than what the best science fiction writers imagined just a few decades ago, and is showing no signs of slowing. Elon Musk’s company will launch 7,518 satellites to create their Starlink program, which aims to provide satellite-based broadband internet everywhere on earth. This is the free market at work, and Starlink is just one of the projects in this market.
I am old enough to remember the forecasts of doom and disaster if competition was allowed in telephone service. The doomsayers were wrong. The free market provides solutions that are impossible to forecast. Competition and the profit motive bring out the best that humans can create. Communications solutions today are employing far more people than the old phone monopolies, and delivering services never dreamed of. The forecasts of disastrous unemployment and system collapse if the phone monopolies were opened to competition were totally and completely wrong.
Monopolies exclude the free market. Allowing it to function everywhere would greatly improve our world. Three big monopolies are K-12, Higher Education, and Drug Addiction. How can they be de-monopolized?
What if, instead of pouring funding in at the top, we created educational endowments for each K-12 student. Student endowment funds would pay out for students who achieved grade level knowledge. Instead of endless fights over charter schools, home schooling, etc. etc., all students would become customers for educational services and be treated accordingly. Providers for students who did poorly would not be paid, leaving twice the annual amount available next year to educators who could catch them up.
Instead of leaving dropouts to fend for themselves, the funds would remain on deposit indefinitely, allowing those who got their act together to get an education.
Free market provision of K-12 educational services would see dramatic cost reduction. Expanded offerings would make full use of technology. Gamification would create educated kids and make learning fun. At some point tax funding of education could end. Educational services would become as inexpensive as other services provided by the free market, just as communication services have. The era of government monopoly factory schools would end.
For Higher Education what if we forced state colleges and universities to grant equal credit via examinations, with the education provided by the free market. Credits earned via examination could be mixed with those from sitting through the classes and would lead to the same degrees. This would create an explosion of free market providers of educational services and end the current abused monopoly status of academia.
The tests should not be pass/fail, but actually indicate the test score. The credentialing exams should also allow retaking, with higher grade points reflecting life experience and added study. To stop indoctrination, an appeals procedure staffed by volunteer alumni could allow review where other than multiple choice questions are part of the grade. Total transparency at the student’s option would be required.
Instead of creating generations so in debt that they have trouble starting families and buying their first houses, we could be creating generations who can train quickly for job opportunities in the high tech world of the future. It is time to open the provision of educational services to the free market in a truly meaningful way.
Our world has a big addiction problem, and the government has a monopoly on dealing with it. Elsewhere in this blog I describe an almost no cost harm reduction approach. Let’s let an addict go to any physician and get a prescription for his drug.
I was approached by a construction supervisor on a project I was associated with. He told me of a co-worker supervisor who became addicted to opioids prescribed for pain relief after a construction accident. When he couldn’t get a reliable supply he turned to heroin, which was readily available thanks to the Taliban. Small doses of heroin allowed him to avoid withdrawal symptoms. He was back to work and functioning normally when he got caught up with law enforcement, destroying his life. A thirty something engineering professional doing important work is now a criminal, his family financially destroyed.
The obvious better solution is to let him remain on opioids legally until he decides to get off. Is that any worse than staying on Prozac or Xanax?
The reason he couldn’t is because the worst kind of monopoly, a government monopoly, does not allow it. It is time to end that monopoly. Get the free market involved and let the addicted themselves choose the best way to deal with it. Take the illicit profit out of it, end the armies of pushers, and the problem would disappear. This monopoly is not just costing billions, it is destroying lives, creating and supporting a huge international criminal culture, and making the worst people in our society rich.
Monopolies in our world are forcing all of us to pay far more than we should for inferior outcomes. It is time to de-monopolize.
We could be doing so much better. When government provides the solutions, innovation is crippled. Variety and choice are problems that raise the cost of administration. Square pegs are hammered into round holes through political correctness, financial penalties and incentives, and force when other methods fail.
Buying votes by promising to do good with other people’s money dominates everything. Power over others, either to gain it or to prevent it, becomes the only thing that can be discussed. As The Eagles observed in Hotel California: “… you can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.”
Years ago when California was a middle class paradise, I traveled there often on business. There was an observation that liberals were waking during the night in a cold sweat with the fear that somewhere somehow somebody was making money. I recently traveled to San Francisco. As I walked around the piles of human excrement the thought hit me that what awakens them today is the fear that somehow somewhere something is unregulated.
Privatization on a large scale is the best solution. Our political leaders should compete to offer privatization plans. The public is ready to listen, but the major parties are trapped in the conflict over power. The liberals for self-serving financial reasons, and the conservatives to outlaw sin.
I have specific privatization proposals on K-12 and Higher Education Funding at http://dickillyes.com/positions.html
Let’s talk them up and look for others. The voters are looking for ideas. 2018 is a uniquely good time to inject these ideas into the public debate.
The two major parties can most simply be described as the Government Jobs Party and the Management Party. The parties view themselves as the Protector of Victims Party and the Common Sense Party. Both parties resist change until something collapses and then the Management Party tries to fix the problem while the Government Jobs Party tries to raise taxes and create as many government jobs as possible. The result is usually some sort of fix, and bigger government. Both parties regard abortion as the most important defining issue.
Third Parties, no matter how appealing their ideas, rarely get out of single digits. Voters fear that voting for them will split the vote and elect someone the voter strongly opposes. That actually happened in recent history.
After Bill Clinton had survived his last bimbo eruption and been nominated, the media suddenly discovered Ross Perot. Perot got the sort of coverage that even his money couldn’t buy. A large number of voters thought there might finally be an opportunity to bring real change to Washington.
The liberal media knew that was very unlikely, but saw an opportunity to elect a Democrat by dividing the opposing vote. The result was Bill Clinton elected with 43% of the vote vs 56.4% for Bush and Perot.
The Australians experienced an even more unpopular Labor Party candidate being elected with a plurality of 34.4% in 1918. They responded with the Commonwealth Electoral Act of 1918, which implemented Instant Runoff Voting. Voters rank the candidates. Second choice votes for voters whose candidate got the lowest first choice votes are then used, with the process continuing until a candidate receives a majority. Most voters only pick a first and second choice, since the remaining candidates are not acceptable to them. However, if Libertarians have their way, the choice of None Of The Above will be on all ballots, providing an acceptable third choice. If None Of The Above wins, the election must be held again with different candidates.
Runoff elections are low turnout events, and are expensive for the candidates and the taxpayers. Local party organizations are often hostile to newcomers, keeping good new blood from getting into the system. Instant Runoff Voting at all levels from primaries through presidential elections would change this in a totally positive way. People should be able to vote for their second choice when they vote for their first. Texas could lead the way. It is time for this reform to be implemented.
If elected I will push for both Instant Runoff Voting and for putting None Of The Above as a choice on all Texas ballots.
California just passed a law forcing so-called “Net Neutrality.” Texas should not.
Net neutrality is not about a specific set of objectives. The push for Net Neutrality was a political invention to create a new class of very wealthy political donors. It was an attempt to bring that part of our world under government control for the purpose of fund raising. If government is involved, the doors are open for endless regulatory tinkering, which must be supported or opposed by politicians, who will listen to their funding sources.
There is no problem with the Internet. It is not a problem that some types of use should be charged differently and have different services. After the so called “Net Neutrality” regulations were scrapped there has been a big expansion of new capacity planned and built. The Internet continues to become faster, cheaper, and more reliable, and there are no problems in sight.
We are reaping the benefits of a free market. Let’s see the demands for Net Neutrality for what they are, the corrupt inventions of a political class obsessed with control and money.
Is there a simple concept that will create the best possible human society? A simple idea that if held by humans would allow them to adapt in the best possible way to anything that might happen? An idea so simple and obvious that children can easily grasp it?
There is such a concept. It is the Non-Aggression Principle. It says that to have the best possible human society, no one can initiate force against another, or deceive them so that they do something they would not otherwise do.
It found its most successful application in the founding of the United States of America, where the concepts of limited government, constitutional restraint, and transparency created a level of personal freedom and success that had never before existed in a human society. Jefferson described it as “... a wise and frugal government, that shall prevent men from injuring one another, and leave them otherwise free.”
It is the core belief of the Libertarian Party. It is the belief that allows libertarians to say: “Not left, not right, libertarian”. It is the concept that guides them when they say that the only proper role of government is preventing force and fraud.
The world is experiencing an explosion of useful technology. It is experiencing a level of material abundance undreamed of just a few decades ago. There is no end in sight. At the same time, governmental solutions are collapsing, with out of control costs, huge unsustainable debt, millions of words of incomprehensible regulations, and amazing mismanagement.
Fortunately, free market solutions are arising to meet the human needs. It is actually a time of great opportunity, possibly a new golden age. Sustenance, shelter, health care, education, and all other human needs can be provided at a fraction of their previous cost by the explosion of technology, operating in the free market. The only thing that can screw it up is big government. It is time to dramatically downsize government and let the future happen.
There is a concept that can guide us, the Non-Aggression Principle. It is time to bring it out of hiding.
The social media providers have become the target of those on all sides of all issues. It is almost universally agreed that they have failed to apply Solomonic Wisdom. Partisans on all sides are demanding action and organizing to fight over the details. The providers are staffing up to try to accommodate the demands.
The current crisis arises from the belief that most people can’t handle information. An elite of clear-minded, right-thinking people must protect them from incorrect or damaging information and ideas.
That idea contradicts the entire American experience.
What if they did nothing. What if they took the position that while users could block commenters or be invitation only, anyone could post anything.
If social media publishers could legally adopt a very simple user agreement that simply stated their policy to not restrict anything, the free market would respond with a number of useful products to handle everything. Apps would proliferate to protect children, provide fact checking, and provide filtering through investigation into the actual backgrounds of those posting (foreign governments, lobbyists of all stripes, religious fanatics, clueless idiots, extortionists, etc.).
An entire new knowledge industry driven by the profit motive and competition would provide the information needed far better than the media companies and government monitoring agencies.
Drug policy needs a total rethink. The way we respond to addiction guarantees the worst possible outcomes. The focus must change from criminalization to harm reduction.
The two major parties react to drug addiction in totally predictable ways.
The GOP says jack up penalties.
The Democrats see the problem as an opportunity to do what they live for, expanding government. More counselors, more prosecutors, more public defenders, more police, more judges, more programs, more huge government funded studies, and who can oppose the tax increases needed to address such a terrible problem.
There is a radically different libertarian approach, harm reduction. Let’s let an addict go to any physician and get a prescription for his drug. The drugs cost next to nothing to produce, and addicts could afford to maintain some semblance of a normal life at no cost to society.
Current policy creates armies of pushers, makes the worst people in our society filthy rich, explodes the cost of government, and destroys those caught up in addiction.
I have personal experience with addicted employees. In the last few years two employees, both high performers, an engineer and a technician, became addicted. In both cases their work didn’t suffer, but their lives went down rapidly.
The engineer left his wife and started living in his car and cheap motels. His unpaid bills became a problem that he was unable to hide. Nobody knew what was going on until he made local headlines when he died from a bad batch.
The technician began stealing equipment to feed his habit. The theft was hard to detect at first since equipment that had not been secured and was used infrequently went missing. As security measures were taken, a company truck full of equipment went missing with the employee. Withdrawal was so intolerable that he destroyed his job and damaged his friend and employer for a fix.
The major argument against harm reduction instead of criminalization and government programs seems to be that drugs are so terrible that no public policy should tolerate them. This overlooks the fact that they are already everywhere, and criminalization is actually promoting addiction by creating armies of pushers.
Where is the fairness in taxing people who stay off them to pay for chasing and locking up those who don’t?
How is it better to destroy those caught in addiction rather than letting them handle their situation as cheaply and safely as possible?
Let’s make it easy and cheap to legally maintain an unfortunate habit. Take the profit out of it, and let addicts live as normal a life as possible until they become so sick of it that they do what it takes to get clean. Harm reduction is the only effective solution.
The GOP position on abortion is like dogs chasing cars. They can’t resist, and they can’t ever catch them, but what would they do if they did?
How would they act if they could actually outlaw abortion, what would happen? Here is what it looks like to me.
Would Plan B pills be outlawed? Almost certainly. Would that be effective? Yes, of course. Just kidding. Once outlawed, Plan B pills would be directly marketed to schoolgirls by an amazingly well organized network of criminals, the same people who are so effective now at marketing drugs to children in every city and hamlet. Every teenager would have a stash of them, resulting in more teenage sex, not less.
Would a large number of people start offering illicit abortion services? Yes, without a doubt. Any EMT or nurse could do them. But never fear, the same government bodies which are so effective at stamping out prostitution and drug use would create huge expensive task forces to find and prosecute them. However, like all other government programs, those working in them would soon realize that if they really found ways to stop abortion, their high paying jobs would end.
Would mandatory pregnancy testing be implemented in high schools? With Plan B and illicit abortion providers everywhere, it would have to be. Would these testing programs result in mistakes and false positives? Yes, lots of them, with the accompanying disastrous damages to innocent lives.
Would doctors be required to report all pregnancies to a government agency so the unborn child could be properly protected? Obviously yes, the same people who had a large enough majority to outlaw abortion would not let this loophole go unblocked. Would this government agency screw up almost constantly? Would it be corrupt? What do you think?
Would pregnancy self-tests be outlawed? They would have to be. Potentially pregnant women would have to be forced into the medical system so their pregnancies could be reported and their unborn children protected. Even though outlawed, the tests would still be available from the same people selling Plan B, making them look like heroes. Dangerous hormonal overdose drugs would also be marketed by these people to induce abortion.
Would organized crime come into possession of lists of Plan B purchasers and those who had provided or undergone illicit abortions? What do you think? A new blackmail industry would spring into being. Lists and videos of those buying Plan B, those providing and having abortions, and large numbers of totally innocent women, would be sold like lists of stolen credit card numbers are now.
Prosecutors would be selectively fed information to keep the blackmail going. Hugely expensive government stings would be run, complete with swat team no knock raids, many on wrong addresses. Innocent pets would be shot as they barked and growled at the helmeted and body armored intruders. The worst of the blackmailers would be given immunity as they helped in the prosecution of thousands of women and a few token criminals.
How would miscarriages be handled? What would women be forced to do to prove that it was an innocent unintended event? I don’t even want to think about it.
How many millions of prison cells would be needed to lock up all the girls and women caught up in the new War on Abortion? Would there be mandatory minimum sentences like in the Drug War? Probably. How else to prevent judges from taking pity on those before them and issuing large numbers of suspended sentences?
Would there be any limit to tax money spent on counselors and support for pregnant schoolgirls? Would teenage pregnancy become another untouchable entitlement?
The outlaw-abortion faction is in total denial of what would actually happen if it got its way.
What would happen if our pro-lifers realized that this issue only serves to divide us. They don’t have to give up their pro-life beliefs, but being pro-life and demanding that abortion be outlawed are not the same.
On a larger societal level, if the danger of what government would do if abortion were outlawed went away, it is likely that abortion would suddenly be seen as immoral by a large majority. Private support and adoption services would experience explosive growth. Millions of unwanted children would have life and good homes.
The result would be far fewer abortions, and a more moral and self-reliant society. It can happen. Being pro-life and wanting to outlaw abortion are not the same. It is time to think about what would happen if the dog actually caught the car. The cure will be much worse than the disease.