Friday, June 08, 2007

Stuff That should remain nationalised

As in ownership and control.

Lawmaking - The Government is that which makes the laws about stuff.

Law enforcement - Enforce the laws that one makes.

Judiciary - Make judgements about the laws one makes.

Infrastructure - These sort of investments are of such a long term nature, very hard to structure into a market, are natural monopolies, have risks which are hard to insure for, have little advantage of competition, and competition can cause unnecessary duplication of infrastructure and waste. eg Roads, Rail, fibre-optic networks, power networks, airports.

Fallback basic primary school education - Government owned and controlled schools can compete on an even keel with private schools at a primary school level.

Fallback basic universal health care - including emergency, preventative and educational. "elective" stuff should be private.

Pensions - same reasons as for infrastructure. Highly regulated private superannuation system as in Australia is great too.

Disaster recovery - As opposed to insurance, there is no reason why any private interest would have a spare reserve trained specialists for immediate help. The Australian army seems much better for instance.

National Security - Command and control is necessary to at least protect the functions of government.


Dr. Clam said...

Yes, I am pretty happy with those... don't you think having legislating, enforcing, and adjudicating laws by the same entity is a dangerous concentration of power? :P
I composed a follow-up post designed to be logical, rather than provoke comments from you, but realised 'nationalisation' and 'privatisation' might mean moving the same activity to the same spot in the spectrum from different starting points. At heart I am loathe to say 'you can't do that' to people wanting to have a go and set things up in competition with government, while I also don't want government to get out of areas it is doing a decent job in on Procrustean grounds. I also realised it matters a great deal to me 'Which state?' There are some things I would trust the Holy Roman Emperor with that I wouldn't let the Council of Giant Robots touch with a bargepole, I guess.

Marco said...

It is funny that I realised once starting to do this formally that the privatisation of Telstra and power utilities in Australia have included the "infrastructure" component. We are finding it hard to encourage private investment in infrastructure while still retaining the competition aspect. I think the communications and power infrastructure should be run like roads. The government should decide and control the infrastructure component. Private telecoms should handle the service, products and bandwidth retail.

Dr. Clam said...

Yes, yes, yes! I have had these thoughts about Telstra for a long time. It is absurd to expect anything like real competition where one company owns the infrastructure they all depend upon. Power lines, water pipes, etc., are *exactly* likes roads!

Marco said...

That is really funny, because I only started thinking about it when looking at the root reason for things to remain nationalised in the first place, hmmm... The real trick is finessing the regulation just right, like they did with superannuation and managed investment schemes. These are technically "private" investments but have rules and pricing signals that essentially give the government veto control.

Dr. Clam said...

The workforce in these areas ought also to be nationalised. We don't offer 'incentive packages' to try to attract soldiers to remote areas; we just tell them to go there. If medicine is nationalised properly, doctors ought to go where they are assigned.

Dr. Clam said...

I have been brooding about health care recently, and I realise it boils down to the question, 'How do I want us to decide who gets to die miserably in the gutter?' Should we leave this up to the market, or should we put it in the hands of the Great Leader and his army of faceless bureaucrats? I think, while both options are sub-optimal, I would rather go with the Great Leader one, since (a) It gives me someone to blame for bad things that happen, and (b) "don't be poor" is a more unrealistic goal for marginalised members of society than "don't get on the wrong side of the Great Leader."