[ExI] Slavery Now and in the Past

Kevin Freels kevinfreels at insightbb.com
Tue Apr 15 14:26:36 UTC 2008

Olga Bourlin wrote:
> From: "Rafal Smigrodzki" <rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com>
> To: "ExI chat list" <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
>>> On Sat, Apr 12, 2008 at 7:16 PM, Olga Bourlin <fauxever at sprynet.com> 
>>> wrote:
>>> (in answer to a previous post of Lee Corbin's)  Your remark about 
>>> "institutions dead nearly 150 years ago" does not take into account de 
>>> jure segregation that existed in parts of the USA into the  1960s, and 
>>> many instances of de facto segregation since then.  Those  institutions 
>>> are interrelated - and not all dead.

Of course the question we are really trying to answer is whether a 
totally free market will always be superior to a market that is managed 
and manipulated by government. If we were just talking about the past, 
then it would be obvious that government regulation is necessary. 
Without labor laws, people were working for pennies - or even as slaves. 
Without the FDA, companies were free to market any kind of snake oil 
they could. The free market didn't build the interstate highway system 
we all enjoy and I doubt it would have been built without government 
intervention. And without compulsory education there is no telling where 
we would be at the moment but I am sure evolution would be taught even 
less. Most of the large bloated bureaucracies were created in response 
to the shortcomings of the free market.

But we're not talking about the past. We're talking about the future. In 
the past, if someone was using a cheap process to create a toy which 
left lead in the paint that could harm children, there was no way to 
quickly prove it and notify people. If an employer wanted to pay pennies 
the people couldn't hop on the internet and find a job in another city 
that paid twice as much because they wanted better people. The free flow 
of information offsets most - if not all - of the benefits of the 
bureaucratic systems that are in place. A free market can only work when 
there is a free and rapid flow of information. Consumer Reports is a 
service I subscribe to and it is much more effective than the consumer 
product safety commission could ever hope to be and I'm sure you can 
figure out all the reasons why.

My point is that it's probably a waste of time debating the free market 
of the past as there are significant differences today. What we should 
be focusing on is how we can utilize these technologies today to create 
a more efficient system than exists now.
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