[ExI] Brief correction re Western Democracies [WASI am Call To Libertarians]

Alfio Puglisi alfio.puglisi at gmail.com
Mon Feb 28 19:23:47 UTC 2011

On Mon, Feb 28, 2011 at 7:51 AM, Kelly Anderson <kellycoinguy at gmail.com>wrote:

> 2011/2/27 Alfio Puglisi <alfio.puglisi at gmail.com>:
> > On Sun, Feb 27, 2011 at 3:35 PM, Stefano Vaj <stefano.vaj at gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >>
> >> 2011/2/22 Alfio Puglisi <alfio.puglisi at gmail.com>:
> >> > On Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 6:52 PM, Kelly Anderson <
> kellycoinguy at gmail.com>
> > When I wrote that private prisons would be an incentive to bogus
> > incarceration I was hypothesizing, but now I found out that it has
> already
> > happened:
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kids_for_cash_scandal
> Alfio, the number of people inappropriately incarcerated in ANY system
> is non-zero. Corruption exists everywhere. I think it is likely that
> some AGIs will end up being corrupt too.

Sure, don't take it personally :-) . I was just responding to Stefano's
argument that mine was "a bizarre and far-fetched argument", pointing out
that it was based on some real-world example.

> In the Old West, the number one
> murder weapon was not the Colt 45, but the shovel. (Apparently, lots
> of arguments came up at water turns...) To tell us that we should give
> up a good tool just because SOME number of people have misused it is
> to completely stop all human progress.
> Just because someone died of arson, does not mean we should go back to
> pre-fire days.

Now please don't attribute to me things I didn't say. The arsonist example
was to point out that, when personal profit incentives are aligned with
setting a forest to fire, fires will occur. If those seasonal workers had
nothing to gain from lighting fires up, say for example if they had
permanent, iron-clad contracts, they wouldn't become arsonists. This may be
regarded as economically inefficient, but in this limited example, it must
be weighted against the loss from all the fires (plus related externalities
like increased fire insurance, etc).

> I find anecdotal stories to be unconvincing. How many people have seen
> big foot, UFOs, and the like? These are statistically uninteresting to
> me. If it were a widespread problem, such as is the case with
> corruption in Mexico, then you would get my attention. This is no more
> convincing than the arguments based on single cases for or against
> government health care.

Now that you talk about health care, I don't remember exactly where I read
that there was some ancient Greek doctor who was regularly paid by his
clients as long as they were healthy, and was *not* paid by anyone who was
sick. I'm sure that the doctor made his best effort to keep everyone as
healthy as possible! This is a perfect example of how profit motives can be
aligned to everyone's best interest.


> -Kelly
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