[ExI] libertarians and inheritance

dan_ust at yahoo.com dan_ust at yahoo.com
Mon May 11 15:05:21 UTC 2009

--- On Mon, 5/11/09, BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:
[big snip]
> The trouble with a 'market' in schools is that there is no
> standard to check them by.

Actually, I think standards evolve.  The difference between having political control of schools is that whatever standards arise are generally political and all too often one-size-fits-all.  This results in the pattern of change we see in current educational systems: they tend to change episodically as one group captures control and enforces its view of the right way to education.  And typically this ossifies until pressure builds for the next wave of reforms.

> Every crazy group will have their own
> schools. Even
> 'good' schools will be sneaking in minor classes in
> creationism or
> bomb-making or the art of shoplifting, and so on.

But this is so now with homeschooling and private schools, no?  And, yes, we do see some crazy stuff being taught, though the surprising thing to me seems to be that most homeschooling and private schooling seems fairly tame and mainstream.  And public schools often teach crazy things (think of the mainstream view of history) or fail to teach things that work (think phonics in the US) or are correct (think evolution in the US).

> A 'market' has to have a minimum standard to attain and a
> supervisory
> administration to stop wrong behavior. Just like any
> market, from
> street markets to Wall Street (we can wish!).

See above.  Market standards evolve.  In fact, all standards had to start this way.  Look at, e.g., legal standards.  In Common Law and commercial law, these evolved and later the state took them over freezing in standards from a particular time (though, to be sure, state law still evolves, but, again, in an episodic "statis followed by reform" rather than a continuous improvement way.).  There's no reason this can't apply to schools today.

And as for markets needing minimum standards, what is meant here?  The problem is the state usually interferes with spotaneous ordering of markets, including Wall Street.  In the latter, for instance, the state tends to protect well connected big players and does all sorts of things to prevent people via markets from cleaning house.  For example, in the US, laws that prevent corporate takeovers and the like shield management from the consequences of its incompetence.  The recent wave of subsidies to bigs banks and large corporations likewise prevent the market from taking down inefficience firms.  The problem seems to me NOT that Wall Street needs some governmental authority to step in to prevent cheating, but that we need the government to stop bailing out or otherwise shielding Wall Street insiders from competition and from their mistakes.*

I think Extropians should be for better markets, but the path to these is NOT by having some central planner decree standards, but by fostering an environment where good standards can evolve and change faster.  (Again, if central planners were good at setting such standards, then why does central planning fail so often?)



*  Also, there's the curious but usually unnoticed phenomenon of big firms calling for regulations.  Why is this?  It seems to me this is often to create regulatory hurdles that smaller competitors will find it harder to leap over.  E.g., recently in the US Walmart voiced its support for raising the minimum wage.  Does anyone honestly believe Walmart did so because it was feeling particularly altruistic (even if altruistic with federal power)?  No, it seems to have been a good public relations move, but even more a great move to shake off competition from smaller firms who will find it much more difficult to pay their works more.  In other words, Walmart is willing to harm itself -- absorbing higher wage money costs -- as along as this harm is much more serious to its competition.


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