Sean Roach on November 05, 2008, 09:39:29 pm
What I'm saying is if a distinct entity controls the roads, they have the power to dictate terms once it becomes too costly for the served to relocate.  I was comparing roads to malls, which are owned distinct from the shops, and in fact lease to the shops.  Once you've sunk funds into the building, and once you've developed a clientele that knows to look for you there, picking up and moving because it now costs more to have access to the road, or the access rules now state certain of your merchandise must not be displayed in the front windows any longer, or sold at all, becomes problematic.

If, on the flip side, the right of way is managed collectively, you will eventually get a majority that would just assume some minority leave, and will force them to, given the ability to do so.

And yes, I'm fully aware a McDonalds trash can isn't a commons.  That's part of the point, that no one complains if you use it as a commons, within reason, as you're being there generally benefits the business that pays for it anyway.  Same for the statements about malls and mall walkers.


Minor edit to clarify the second paragraph.

ttogreh on February 23, 2010, 09:31:30 am
All right, this is my first post, and it is in a thread that is over 120 days old. I realize that might be slightly against forum etiquette. However, the contributors to this thread started the debate on "the tragedy of the commons", and I would like to continue it.

Right now, the people of Ceres have an expanding settlment with a single metropolitan area, Ceres City. There are homesteaders that use their own fusion reactors, air reclamators, and water recyclers and drive in to the metropolitan area for supplies that they cannot produce on their own, either through choice or inability.

However, Ceres city is expanding. Eventually the homesteaders will have a choice to either tie in to the "grid", or let the metropolitan area expand around their stakes and live in autonomy, sort of like "township islands"; these are enclaves that are surrounded by another municipality but do not use certain municipal utilities, such as water or sewer service.

Now, this works fine for now, but eventually Ceres city will expand to meet itself. Once that happens, the homesteaders that have not tied in will have a unique choice. Their homes will be the only "undeveloped" areas on Ceres, and will likely have developers beating down their airlocks with offers for their deeds. Eventually all homesteaders or at least "enough" homesteaders will be bought out, and Ceres will be one sprawling metropolis.

When that happens, Ceres will have a fully matured "renters economy". That is to say, there will be an elite class that derives its wealth not from labor, and not from the direct use of its capital, but from the allowance of others to labor on capital that does not belong to the laborers.

This elite class, will essentially, get its "money for nothing and its chicks for free", as the song goes.

Now, obviously, the renters will have costs, but basic economics will tell you that the renters will consolidate into a natural monopoly and utilize economies of scale so that the least amount of effort will exact the greatest amount of profit.

Now, maybe anarcho-capitalists are ok with the idea of idle rich road owners that do nothing but get rich from the efforts of their great-grandparents, but they might not like the practice of it. See, renters economies distort the labor and capital economies in a similar way to taxation. Indeed, one could say that rent seekers would be the replacement to revenuers.

So, explain to me how a fully matured metropolitan area would not develop a renters economy, or conversely, explain to me how a renters economy is not taxation under a new label.

SandySandfort on February 24, 2010, 09:49:12 am
Good topic, but your assumptions are wrong. This is partially because they have not come in the strip yet. In other cases. Beyond that, your erroneous economic assumptions are all your own..

Right now, the people of Ceres have an expanding settlment with a single metropolitan area, Ceres City. There are homesteaders that use their own fusion reactors, air reclamators, and water recyclers and drive in to the metropolitan area for supplies that they cannot produce on their own, either through choice or inability. However, Ceres city is expanding....

There are other settlements, including built up areas at the poles. Of course there are residents who live in the settlements and not on seasteads. Reggie and the Guzmán family, for example. Your first questionable assumption is that the settlements on Ceres are expanding. What leads you to this conclusion?

Eventually the homesteaders will have a choice to either tie in to the "grid", or let the metropolitan area expand around their stakes and live in autonomy, sort of like "township islands"; these are enclaves that are surrounded by another municipality but do not use certain municipal utilities, such as water or sewer service.

The settlements sit on rocky islands in the Cererean (ice) Sea. The islands are not getting any bigger. Of course, there could be (and are) seasteads that run mom and pop stores, but the land is not expanding. Eventually, an airskin system will cover Ceres and the seas will be melted. Then, there will be something of a commons question, though, plans are being made for that eventuality. If the strip goes on long enough, we will discuss it. However for the present, there are only about 5000 full-time Ceres residents spread over 360,000 square kilometers of ice ocean.

Now, this works fine for now, but eventually Ceres city will expand to meet itself. Once that happens, the homesteaders that have not tied in will have a unique choice. Their homes will be the only "undeveloped" areas on Ceres, and will likely have developers beating down their airlocks with offers for their deeds. Eventually all homesteaders or at least "enough" homesteaders will be bought out, and Ceres will be one sprawling metropolis.

Again, SEAsteads are just floating ocean habitats. There are no deeds to be bought out. On the islands, there exists an informal "deed" recognition of ownership and transfer.

When that happens, Ceres will have a fully matured "renters economy". That is to say, there will be an elite class that derives its wealth not from labor, and not from the direct use of its capital, but from the allowance of others to labor on capital that does not belong to the laborers.

Nice Marxist rhetoric, but Marxism has been shown to be wrong so many times in so many places, one wonders why people keep trotting out this tired, broken old whore as a superior worldview. Plus, I don't think anyone could seriously promote a system that killed 100,000,000 innocent people in the 29th Century.

This elite class, will essentially, get its "money for nothing and its chicks for free", as the song goes.

You can only have an elite class (not based on merit) in a statist system. You can have rich people, but without a government to be bought off to use force to maintain power over the plebes, that power is very ephemeral. "Money can't buy you love," as the song goes.   ;D

Now, obviously, the renters will have costs, but basic economics will tell you that the renters will consolidate into a natural monopoly and utilize economies of scale so that the least amount of effort will exact the greatest amount of profit.

Again, in a stateless, society, there are dis-economies of scale. The nimble economic "mammals" will run circles around the ponderous bureaucratic "dinosaurs." Think of it as a Laffer Curve. Every type of enterprise has a natural optimal size. Below that size, there are economies of scale. Above that size, there are dis-economies of scale.

Here's another "natural" analogy. If bigger is better, why are there no 5000 pound lions?

Get it now?

Gillsing on February 24, 2010, 02:47:29 pm
I've read the explanation for why there are no 5000 pound lions. It has to do with the way our muscles work. Basically the area of a cross section of a muscle determines its strength, so you get 'two-dimensional' strength. Mass on the other hand is three-dimensional, and thus the bigger you get, the more your mass will outgrow your strength. Which of course becomes highly inefficient.

I don't really know what that has to do with businesses though. As far as I know, the bigger a business is, the better it'll be at providing the kind of stable and dependable goods and services that people enjoy, and usually at cheaper prices as well, since the suppliers also like to have stable and reliable customers and would most likely be willing to give a discount. And building a machine to create a million units is a lot more efficient than building one to create only a thousand. Long term and large scale tend to bring the price per unit down, and protect against sudden bankruptcy due to temporary bad conditions.

Granted, in an economy where everything can be created at a whim, and the most valuable thing you have to trade is your clever ideas, I could see how bigger wouldn't necessarily be better. But I don't know for sure that a lone genius is actually better at creating something useful than a huge staff of scientists would be. In a comic, sure, but in real life? Ideas are a dime a dozen, but to actually create something usually takes resources.

But I guess that if a monopoly isn't forced, but rather evolves, it's just a monopoly for practical purposes, and still allows a lot of smaller businesses that cater to those who just can't stand the same stuff that most everyone thinks is fine. And maybe any such monopoly would always break up as soon as struggles within the monopoly become more important than struggles against external competition? Conquering the world is fun and all, but when you are the world, what then? Just sit there and grow fat?
I'm a slacker, hear me snore...

dough560 on February 25, 2010, 06:07:50 am
Gillsing, Do the names; John Moses Browning, Carbine Williams, John C. Garand mean anything?  They should.  Most modern firearms are descended from their genius.

The M60 Machinegun was designed by committee and is one of the most dangerous to the user arms ever to make it into the American Arsenal.

Automobiles, Radio, Telephone, Television.....  All one man.

Big businesses tend to become stuck in their ways.  Look at GM.  Local inventors are working out workable designs for home power systems and electric vehicles... Many of which are not even on the government's radar

Azure Priest on February 25, 2010, 07:23:54 am
There are 5000 pound (and larger) animals. Their main problem is finding enough food to support their mass.

Sperm (and other) whales of that size eat mountains of plankton and kelp every day.

Sharks and other oceanic carnivores have to hunt the ocean equivalent of 4000 pound gazelles.

There ARE advantages to being huge.  A very large business that decides it wants to "set up shop" somewhere, one that has a large reserve of capital or cash can (and many have) move in, set up a MEGASTORE and undersell the locals even at a loss. When the locals no longer have the resources to stay in business because all their customers flocked to the "cheap" meagastore, they close. Then once there IS no more competition, the MEGASTORE regains its "investment" by raising the prices through the roof. Since there is no longer anywhere else to go....  Eventually, the prices will stabilize. Low enough that no one can afford the investment of setting up a "mom and pop" store which can actually compete, but higher than the "high" prices people flocked away from in the first place.

There are also dis-advantages as mentioned. Resistance to change, reluctance to adapt being at the top of the list.

Gillsing on February 25, 2010, 11:02:56 am
Automobiles, Radio, Telephone, Television.....  All one man.
Maybe I've become too bedazzled by the complexity of our modern technology to believe that the lone geniuses of yesterday could, alone, create something that sells better than what the large corporations offer. I suppose it's a matter of maturity. As a technology matures, it seems to require more and more people to work on it to improve it in order to compete with other variants.

Quote
Big businesses tend to become stuck in their ways.  Look at GM.
While GM certainly seems to be a good example of a big business stuck in its ways, I'm not so sure that GM is a good example of a big business. It seems to me that quite a lot of big businesses are willing to do what it takes to stay in the game, and some even seem to be ahead in their field.
I'm a slacker, hear me snore...

Sean Roach on February 25, 2010, 11:32:31 am
Yeah.  They'll do whatever it takes to stay in the game.
Frequently by using government as a lever and a wall against smaller corporations.
They shop around their jobs to multiple municipalities, seeking someone who will let them dig in with a minimal tax load, allowing them, right there, to have lower operating costs than garage startups, that might directly employ only 20 people.
They seek restrictive laws, usually citing safety, that make the cost of getting into the trade very expensive.  Sometimes they are "grandfathered" in, so they don't even have to pay those costs.  Sometimes, they simply raise the costs of doing business.  Mandatory crash tests and, on a smaller, individual, level, licensing fees and requirements, are two examples.

Heck.  Bill Gates had something to say about oversized corporations.  Granted, he spoke saying he'd found the solution to the problem of an unwieldy corporation in email, but he, the then head of an outsized corporation, acknowledged large corporations as not as nimble as smaller mom-and-pops and garage startups.

A fun article to read would be the cover article in Wired, not too long ago, (a month to 3 months.)  It speaks of a new tendency towards garage-level manufacturing startups.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2010, 11:36:25 am by Sean Roach »

Mabuse on February 25, 2010, 11:45:12 am
You guys do know that dis-economies of scale isn't some vague notion of various social or cultural attitudes that might work against large businesses; it's a well defined and and implemented economic theory, Ludwig Von Mises' arguments in the Socialist Calculation Debate about the difficulties central planning institutions would face in co-ordinating prices and resources were later applied - by Von Mises himself and later Murray Rothbard - to the structure and decision-making mechanisms of large corporations and found that they have the same basic flaws as the socialist calculators beyond a certain size and that most large corporations today are in fact over that limit; meaning that said businesses owe their long-term stability to state-granted protections and subsidy.

SandySandfort on February 25, 2010, 05:41:07 pm
Sometimes, they simply raise the costs of doing business.  Mandatory crash tests and, on a smaller, individual, level, licensing fees and requirements, are two examples.

For years NASA and the "prime contractors" have worked to keep start-up private space ventures out of space. That what ITAR (International Trafficking in Arms Regulations) is all about. ITAR and other regulatory compliance makes it almost impossible for small rocket companies to get in the business. Whereas, compliance--as a percentage--isn't all that costly for the big companies.

I have been trying to get Panama interested in creating a minimal regulatory system for private space launches. (Basically, keep the hell out of the way and then take credit for creating something.) However, ITAR would make it almost impossible for small companies to take their technology out of the States.

So when I read about SeaLaunch, I was intrigued how a consortium that included a US company, a Russian company and two other foreign corporations could (a) share information among themseleves (generally not allowed under ITAR) and (b) remove the technology from Long Beach and sail it to the equator. (Also not generally allowed under ITAR). So I call to find out. When I asked how they complied with ITAR the women talking for SeaLaunch said, "Oh we have a whole department to handle compliance." Luckily, Wilber and Orville lived in a less regulated era...

Rocketman on February 25, 2010, 09:14:56 pm
Gillsing, Do the names; John Moses Browning, Carbine Williams, John C. Garand mean anything?  They should.  Most modern firearms are descended from their genius.

The M60 Machinegun was designed by committee and is one of the most dangerous to the user arms ever to make it into the American Arsenal.
  "the pig" as the M60 was called in it's early days was indeed a poor light machine gun with a whole lot of serious design flaws.  But it didn't even come close to the absolute piece of junk machine gun that the french pawned off to the American troops in WW1 and that was the Chauchat (aka Show-show).  The American government payed for 25,000 with about 2,200 shipped to the U.S. for training.  Everyone and I mean everyone who saw the gun being fired had a deep personal dislike for the gun because it so frequently jammed in the most unusual ways.  And you have to remember that we're talking about training and not combat which is quite a bit dirtier.  As soon as the war was over just about all of them were junked and even today the Army doesn't like to talk about them.

wdg3rd on February 25, 2010, 09:56:30 pm
Chauchat (aka Show-show)

That is actually close to the correct pronunciation.  (Show-Shaw is closer).  I took a couple years of frog-speak in high school, trading skiffy novels with the teacher who was the only other out-of-the-closet SF (but not Star Trek) fan in the school (he tracked me down and we exchanged a few emails about a decade back, but he in now in the ground).  I never did learn to speak frog worth a damn (most of what I can speak [the bits I learned from Grandma, who dealt with a lot of Kaybeckers, and nurses don't learn the good words] you'll only hear when I drop a brick on my foot), but that also applies to Spanish, German, Lithuanian, Polish, Russian, Korean, Japanese and several other languages that I've learned just the Bad Words from, but I can read Dumas without more than cursory use of a LaRousse dictionary (that won't have a bunch of regional terms anyway, so it's almost useless for Dumas or for that matter Rostand).

I still want to learn to cuss (rather than curse) in Welsh and both Irish and Scots-gaelic).  That's most of my ancestry, but I've had little to no _informal_ exposure to those languages.
Ward Griffiths        wdg3rd@aol.com

Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.  --  Denis Diderot

dough560 on February 26, 2010, 01:06:15 am
Walmart is a prime example of the drive out the little guy market controls.  In-fact, I have to drive about thirty miles to be serviced by a shoe store that sells something other than Walmart's "quality" footwear.  If I want high end running shoes, its fifteen miles in the opposite  direction.

Rocketman, I don't know if that French piece of junk was designed by a committee or an individual.  With the French, does it make a difference?

Sean, The plant I currently work at, is a case in point.  They moved into a depressed area and the local governments gave them a ten year tax break.  The workers, on the other hand, pay income taxes to the town.  A town where we do not have the right to vote.

Sandy, what information do you have about Sealaunch?  Sounds interesting.

SandySandfort on February 26, 2010, 07:30:00 am
Sandy, what information do you have about Sealaunch?  Sounds interesting.

Sea Launch is a consortium of corporate welfare mothers masquerading as a private, entrepreneurial space company.  The four companies are from the US, Russia, Ukraine and Norway. Boeing seems to be the point company. They have launched all of the DirecTV satellites and have blown up one of them. The seagoing launch facility is interesting.

   http://www.boeing.com/special/sea-launch/

ttogreh on February 26, 2010, 07:41:33 am
Good topic, but your assumptions are wrong. This is partially because they have not come in the strip yet. In other cases. Beyond that, your erroneous economic assumptions are all your own..

...

There are other settlements, including built up areas at the poles. Of course there are residents who live in the settlements and not on seasteads. Reggie and the Guzmán family, for example. Your first questionable assumption is that the settlements on Ceres are expanding. What leads you to this conclusion?

You have stated that more people are escaping from Terra. So many, in fact, that the elder Babette has had to formalize her lending as a going concern. More people means that either the population density is increasing, or the settlements are expanding, or both. In any event, if the settlements are static now, they more than likely will not be in the future, what with emigration.

Quote

...

The settlements sit on rocky islands in the Cererean (ice) Sea. The islands are not getting any bigger. Of course, there could be (and are) seasteads that run mom and pop stores, but the land is not expanding. Eventually, an airskin system will cover Ceres and the seas will be melted. Then, there will be something of a commons question, though, plans are being made for that eventuality. If the strip goes on long enough, we will discuss it. However for the present, there are only about 5000 full-time Ceres residents spread over 360,000 square kilometers of ice ocean.

Yes, there are (X + n) residents spread over a finite area. That area will eventually be developed "enough" to foster a renter's economy.

Quote

...

Again, SEAsteads are just floating ocean habitats. There are no deeds to be bought out. On the islands, there exists an informal "deed" recognition of ownership and transfer.

This is a distinction without difference. The seasteaders own their habitats, and if we call it a "title" or a "deed", that piece of paper (or more likely, a collection of 1s and 0s) has a fungible value dependent on market conditions. Granted, if we can assume that the seas will be common for the foreseeable future, that just leaves the islands and the land that Ceres City rests on, which merely accelerates the timeline for my scenario.

Quote

...

Nice Marxist rhetoric, but Marxism has been shown to be wrong so many times in so many places, one wonders why people keep trotting out this tired, broken old whore as a superior worldview. Plus, I don't think anyone could seriously promote a system that killed 100,000,000 innocent people in the 29th Century.

Marxism is about trying to destroy the renter's economy, which is about as practical as trying to destroy or create matter. No, I am just stating that the concept of "rent" does not disappear in an anarcho-capitalist society, and private roadways treated as common roadways... need to be maintained by someone.

Who owns the roads? How do they pay for them? How can a finite metropolitan area avoid a monopoly on a vital utility such as roads, when indeed a monopoly is the most natural development for a utility like roads?

Quote

...

You can only have an elite class (not based on merit) in a statist system. You can have rich people, but without a government to be bought off to use force to maintain power over the plebes, that power is very ephemeral. "Money can't buy you love," as the song goes.   ;D

Somebody has to pay for the maintenance of the roads, and the roads are privately owned. If that is not the perfect environment for an hydraulic despotism, I don't know what is. Look, this is your vision. Explain to me how there can be competition in the road market. Use future tech, if you need to.

Quote

...

Again, in a stateless, society, there are dis-economies of scale. The nimble economic "mammals" will run circles around the ponderous bureaucratic "dinosaurs." Think of it as a Laffer Curve. Every type of enterprise has a natural optimal size. Below that size, there are economies of scale. Above that size, there are dis-economies of scale.

Here's another "natural" analogy. If bigger is better, why are there no 5000 pound lions?

Get it now?


I honestly believe that in a finite metropolitan area, a natural monopoly will develop in the roads market, which will allow for rent seeking. Explain to me how I am wrong.

 

anything