The Cult of Mediocrity

  • sturner (6/26/2012)


    archie flockhart (6/26/2012)


    eventually you have to provide a viable service and actually make a profit or you go bankrupt.

    Or you need to accept that there are some things which are worth doing but which will never be commercially viable; and others which are best paid for collectively through taxation rather than individually at the point of use.

    Please provide an example of this... of something the federal government provides me by taxing me that I *need* and could not get from a private entity? Please be specific.

    I can only come up with these: Interstate highways (roads and bridges), National security and (local government) police and fire. All the rest is far better accomplished by the private sector.

    Your list already takes you a long way from your initial claim at the top of the threaded comments.

    I'd add: social care, a universal education system, courts and the legal system, sanitation and waste disposal, parks and national parks, prisons, nationwide postal services ...

    Governments might choose to subcontract some of these but they'd be unlikley to be organised without a national or local government.

    Oh, and healthcare - most of the world thinks the US healthcare system is bizarre: spending substantially more on health than any other country, but getting a average life expectancy below that of Cuba.

    And it's not just things that you *couldn't* get from a private entity, it's things that may be more effectively delivered if they're paid for collectively through taxation. You *could* get a private fire service or private roads - that's how it used to be done, until people realised it was better provided through taxation and government.

    But we're a long way from Michael's original article on risk: just a a reminder, his two serious examples of successful risk taking were both government led, and his friend in the risk averse culture was in a private company.

  • sturner (6/26/2012)


    GSquared (6/26/2012)


    Shall I continue? Or just read the Constitution and you'll see a list of the critical services and enforcement needs. It's very finite, though subject to abuse (as any human set of rules is), but it's not just an item or two.

    Actually, the Constitution enumerates a very limited list of things that government is chartered to do. It is much more abbreviated than all of the things you just listed. Today though, it sees to have its hands in every aspect of life and commerce and has put taxpayers 16 Trillion in debt as a result. Waste fraud and corruption is rampant. It's just not very efficient at so many things it does and, unfortunately, appears to have to answer to no one.

    An entity that must balance its books, make a profit and answer to shareholders is a better environment for in more ways than one. It also leaves the individual the freedom to choose another among other entities that might provide a similar service or product at perhaps a better value.

    Every item I listed is in the US Constitution.

    Court System = Article III

    Coining money and regulating value thereof = Article I, Section 8

    Regulation of interstate commerce = Article I, Section 8

    No fees for ships going from one state to another = Article I, Section 9

    and so on

    If there's one I listed that's not, please point it out to me with specifics. Otherwise, I recommend reading the whole thing, or at least all of Article I. It can be found here: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html. You might be surprised at the number of things even just I.8 enumerates, and how broad some of them are.

    - Gus "GSquared", RSVP, OODA, MAP, NMVP, FAQ, SAT, SQL, DNA, RNA, UOI, IOU, AM, PM, AD, BC, BCE, USA, UN, CF, ROFL, LOL, ETC
    Property of The Thread

    "Nobody knows the age of the human race, but everyone agrees it's old enough to know better." - Anon

  • GSquared (6/27/2012)


    If there's one I listed that's not, please point it out to me with specifics. Otherwise, I recommend reading the whole thing, or at least all of Article I. It can be found here: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html. You might be surprised at the number of things even just I.8 enumerates, and how broad some of them are.

    I highly recommend you forward this link to your politicians. They are the ones that took an oath to adhere to that document but in fact usually do not. The [very] few Constitutional purists (ie. Ron Paul, etc.) are typically impugned, made fun of or just ignored as old non-progressive old farts. If the Constitution were actually being followed we probably wouldn't even be having this discussion.

    Meanwhile you'll have to pony up the $16T (and counting) debt these clowns have rung up along with abysmal economy so how's it all working out for you?

    The probability of survival is inversely proportional to the angle of arrival.

  • archie flockhart (6/27/2012)


    jbnv (6/26/2012)


    archie flockhart (6/26/2012) And as you're viewing an HTML based page on the Internet, spare a thought for the government-run bodies which pioneered both.

    HTML was developed by Tim Berners-Lee and scientists at CERN. The Internet that we know and enjoy today is largely the result of work that private companies built upon the foundation built by DARPA and university researchers.

    Yes, that's my point. I can't tell whether you think your point contradicts mine, but if you do, you need to take a look at what CERN and DARPA are: agencies run by governments.( and many Universities, outside the USA, are government-run too.)

    My point does contradict yours. Reread my second sentence. CERN is an extragovernmental entity. Besides, HTML is just one of many standards and technologies, many if not most of which were developed by private entities or corporate-academic collaborations. I know what DARPA is. Public universities should not push government agendas. But first and foremost, this particular page is a private enterprise.

    Jay Bienvenu | http://bienv.com | http://twitter.com/jbnv

  • I'm not sure what you mean by "extragovernmental entity" but this is what CERN themselves say about what they are, and it's certainly not a private company:

    "CERN is run by 20 European Member States, each of which has two official delegates to the CERN Council. One represents his or her government’s administration; the other represents national scientific interests. "

    Sounds pretty governmental to me. Multiple governments, in fact. And European ones, at that !

  • archie flockhart (6/27/2012)


    I'm not sure what you mean by "extragovernmental entity" but this is what CERN themselves say about what they are, and it's certainly not a private company:

    "CERN is run by 20 European Member States, each of which has two official delegates to the CERN Council. One represents his or her government’s administration; the other represents national scientific interests. "

    Sounds pretty governmental to me. Multiple governments, in fact. And European ones, at that !

    Clearly extragovernmental. The governments don't run CERN; they have representatives on the board. And half of the representatives represent scientific interests, not the governments.

    You're doing everything you can to ignore the fact that the vast majority of innovation that gave us the Internet/WWW that we know was done by private individuals and companies with little or no government financing or prodding.

    Jay Bienvenu | http://bienv.com | http://twitter.com/jbnv

  • Not to hijack this thread, but I'm glad that the Cult of Mediocrity doesn't exist when evacuating citizens from areas of danger. The Colorado Springs Fire and Police Departments evacuated 26,000 people yesterday afternoon starting at 4:03 PM MDT as the Waldo Canyon Fire roared down into part of Colorado Springs with no injuries.

  • jbnv (6/26/2012)


    patrickmcginnis59 (6/26/2012)I'm pointing out that you have not addressed the free market response to a visibly bad actor. There very well could be an answer here, thats why I'm posting the hypothetical in search of one.

    Bad public relations, bad press, boycotts, damage to reputation.

    Or more clearly stated - don't buy their products. You can cry about them in the press all you want - if you don't hit them in the pocketbook, they may not have the "incentive" to fix it.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Your lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my part...unless you're my manager...or a director and above...or a really loud-spoken end-user..All right - what was my emergency again?

  • sturner (6/27/2012)


    GSquared (6/27/2012)


    If there's one I listed that's not, please point it out to me with specifics. Otherwise, I recommend reading the whole thing, or at least all of Article I. It can be found here: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html. You might be surprised at the number of things even just I.8 enumerates, and how broad some of them are.

    I highly recommend you forward this link to your politicians. They are the ones that took an oath to adhere to that document but in fact usually do not. The [very] few Constitutional purists (ie. Ron Paul, etc.) are typically impugned, made fun of or just ignored as old non-progressive old farts. If the Constitution were actually being followed we probably wouldn't even be having this discussion.

    Meanwhile you'll have to pony up the $16T (and counting) debt these clowns have rung up along with abysmal economy so how's it all working out for you?

    I can't write my honest opinion of our current government, nor our employees in it (politicians), in this forum, due to the NSFW nature of said opinions.

    But that doesn't change that your assertion that the list I wrote wasn't based on the Constitution, was factually incorrect on your part. That's why I suggest (re)reading it. Not an attack on you, not a defense of the criminals we routinely put in office, just a response to a mistake on your part. An honest mistake, I'm sure, but still worth remedying. That's all.

    - Gus "GSquared", RSVP, OODA, MAP, NMVP, FAQ, SAT, SQL, DNA, RNA, UOI, IOU, AM, PM, AD, BC, BCE, USA, UN, CF, ROFL, LOL, ETC
    Property of The Thread

    "Nobody knows the age of the human race, but everyone agrees it's old enough to know better." - Anon

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