In The Public Interest

I realize that with all this blabbering I've been doing about social organizations, and politics, particularly the post on Health Care Cooperatives, some of you may have read something into my thinking that I think is very much not there. I think this resonates with the way people people read a certain kind of libertarian streak in Cory Doctorow's work, which is I think is an uncomfortable association, at least in my reading.

There are two parts of my thinking that I think are important:

First, I think there is a not particularly insignificant range of social and economic functions that fall into the broad category of the "public interest," that I think would (and are) ill served by the private institutions which are their current guardians. This was the crux of the argument of my health care argument, but I think there are other things that fall under the public interest: education, banking, "utilities" (water, sewage, power, TCP/IP data,) health care, and infrastructure (roads, public transit, rail, power distribution, ), as well as some operations that benefit from centralized organization like aviation.

Second, I would assert that "Market Forces," are not sufficiently understood to merit trust in their efficacy. Furthermore, the large-scale global markets that have ruled supreme in the recent past tend to sacrifice long-term authenticity, for short term gains at the expense of individuals. This is the problem with corporations that I've been harping on for a long time. The way, as far as I can tell to de-incentivize this kind of economic activity, is to focus economic development on more smaller ventures and to decrease the importance of initial capital outlay on business models.

And that's simply not something you can regulate or deregulate around. To erase the impact of corporate-styled business models on the economy, you have to hack scarcity in some way. Corporation-sized ventures beat cooperative-sized ventures today, because in most areas economies of scale in the production of concrete material, doom cooperative-sized enterprises. One of the effects of the development of technology in the next {{few}} [1] years will be, I suspect, to decrease the advantages of economies of scale.

If nothing else it's an interesting time to be alive.

[1]This gets my standard "until the singularity gets here," response, so before 2030 or 2040. You heard it here first.
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