[ExI] Private and government R&D

Dan dan_ust at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 6 15:22:23 UTC 2009

--- On Thu, 7/2/09, Mirco Romanato <painlord2k at libero.it> wrote:
> Stathis Papaioannou ha scritto:
>> I might be financially better off without taxation
>> since I am in a
>> relatively high tax bracket, but the people who
>> currently can't work
>> for one reason or another would definitely be worse
>> off, and the
>> country as a whole might be worse off, given a few
>> years of no public
>> services such as education or health. You don't
>> believe this,
>> obviously, but most people do, which is why they agree
>> to be taxed
>> when taxation is such an intrinsically unpleasant
>> thing.
> Well, many wives believe that without their husband they
> would be worse
> off. So they accept to be beaten by their husband.
> I suppose that until they believe so, there is no way to
> help them.
> The problems arise when the beaten wives advocate for
> forcing wives that
> don't want be beaten by their husbands to accept to be
> beaten, because
> they believe that these women would be worse without their
> husbands or
> that the beaten wives would be worse off if other women
> don't accept to
> be beaten.

I tend to agree that a big part of the problem with public finance is that people can't imagine alternatives* -- despite that fact that almost anything that's publicly funded in one place is often privately and voluntarilty funded somewhere else or was at some other time.  The usual refrain -- and, sadly, this list is NOT unusual in this respect -- is that if it's not publicly funded there'll be free riders, lower quality, and some will do without.  (Of course, overlooking the fact that public funding of anything has free riders, lower quality, and some doing without.  The case of roads is as good as any.  The free riders are those who don't pay for roads but do take advantage of them, the low quality of public roads should be well known (though I bet someone will argue this is not so), and access if actually not available for all (e.g., if you don't have a license, you're not permitted to drive on public roads).)



*  Or they can only imagine the worst possible things happening.  If the government doesn't provide iPods, for example, no one will ever listen to music ever or be forced to listen to Gilbert and Sullivan only.


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