Free markets vs planning???

Comment to a friend’s facebook post

It’s not that simple Neil, I wish it was.
The moment you use the word mandatory, it is no longer entirely private. And I do get that there are dangers in many dimensions of the issues.
Having just lived through a major quake here in Kaikoura, and having seen many different types of damage (sheer faults, uplift and shaking), most damage has been due to shaking, and most of that due to ground wave velocity. I think all major building damage is to buildings built on ground where the wave velocity is under 1,000m/s and most of it on ground with velocities under 100m/s (wave amplitude being inversely proportional to velocity) – wave velocity under my house is about 2,000m/s – no damage.
Now the major threat is seismically induced sedimentary cascade – billions of cubic meters of material shaken loose in the mountains now just laying there awaiting sufficient water to transport it. Enough to overwhelm all existing levy and control structures in a cyclone Alison type event.
Insurers are now starting to look seriously at geological risk – and New Zealand is high risk – most of it. Where and when do you load that risk – on one unfortunate generation?

I fully agree that there are significant problems with the “planning systems” we have, and we need some alternatives, but the financial system will resist it with all their power, as our debt based monetary system is predicated on a money supply essentially based in increasing house prices.

Exponentially expanding technology holds the promise of an exponentially increasing set of very low cost goods and services, and housing could be in that set very easily, except that doing so would break the existing money system.

The issue isn’t really public private, it is far deeper.
If there is sufficient for all, then cooperation always pays higher dividends than competition, and technology can deliver on sufficient for the reasonable needs of all. And the existing market system is predicated on scarcity values, anything universally abundant has no market value, however socially desirable it may be.
So we have direct conflict between human needs and market incentives.

When you look at evolution from a systems perspective, it is possible to characterise all new levels of complexity as being the result of new levels of cooperation. And naive cooperation is always vulnerable to cheating, so attendant strategies are required for stability. Our existing market system is not cooperative.

It can be tool within a larger cooperative context, but it cannot be the major driver or value set.

To me, individual life, and individual liberty are the fundamental values that must underlie rational cooperation. Those values are what bought me to ACT.

And individual life and individual liberty require responsibility in both social and ecological contexts. Nothing simple, really complex, multidimensional systems.

About Ted Howard NZ

Seems like I might be a cancer survivor. Thinking about the systemic incentives within the world we find ourselves in, and how we might adjust them to provide an environment that supports everyone (no exceptions) - see
This entry was posted in Our Future, Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comment and critique welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s