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News My beef with privatization.

  1. Dec 3, 2005 #1
    This is part of a larger thing I'm writing in response to the Smurf thread, but I thought it warranted a thread by it's self because it's on a slightly different topic.

    One thing people often say to me is that they don't understand how I can be an anti-statist and be against privatization at the same time. To them, it sounds logical that I would want less direct government control over institutions if I'm against the government first and formost.

    Privatization does not remove government control. If the state wants to stop you from doing something (usually under the rhetorical guise of "crime" or some such) hiding in your house, which is not 'owned' by the government, will not stop them. Privatization does not remove any peice of property, and item of belonging, from ultimate state control if the state has reason to desire such control. Furthermore, the state is, at least in Canada and the countries most affected by privatization, subject to popular control – however limited. A building directly controlled by a government that is partially subject to the will of the people is more democratic (I hold that Anarchy is Democracy, real democracy) than a building directly controlled by some individual who can do whatever he wants without being subject to the will of the people, because through this concept of "ownership" his actions are legitimized. For example, if a factory was dumping it's waste into a river and the local inhabitants did not approve, it would be easier to get this to stop if it was owned by the state than if it was owned by a private individual.

    The reason for this is because of two things, firstly, directly through state democratic institutions, such as elections, the government might be replaced if they don't stop dumping the waste, and secondly, because of the general belief that the government is supposed to be nice to people. The more pressure the government gets, even if they have no likelihood of losing the next election, they will be more likely to stop dumping the factory waste into the river.

    Private ownership is exempt from both these effects. There is no way for the populace to 'vote' for the private property to stop acting the way it does, and have their decision enforced*, and there is no or little effect from mere pressure (this is assuming that people who disagree don't organize and boycott the factory or something. And historically that doesn't happen – people arn't good at protesting anything but the government for some reason (probably the belief of legitimiacy)).

    * This may seem inconsistant with my belief that majority rule is unethical. However, majority rule, while ridiculous and fallicious, is better than minority rule. (consensus is preferable to both)
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 3, 2005 #2
    So, explain a couple of things to me.

    In the absence of a state, what would prevent everything from being privatized? What organization would prevent said factory from dumping waste into a river but the state?

    How in the world is belief in government regulation of industry in line with belief in Anarchy?
  4. Dec 3, 2005 #3


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    I think Smurf mentioned on another thread he is a primitivist so presumably in his ideal world there wouldn't be factories just a bunch of people foraging for food in the forests.
  5. Dec 3, 2005 #4
    I'd like to see Smurf actually respond, so that I can then respond to what he actually says, instead of responding to what he might've once said something like.
  6. Dec 3, 2005 #5
    No I'm not a primitivist, although I do like John Zerzan.

    In response to "In the absence of a state, what would prevent everything from being privatized?":
    Without the state privatization is impossible. In order to privately own something you have to have some form of state to enforce property rights.

    In response to "What organization would prevent said factory from dumping waste into a river but the state?":
    The same people who would be complaining to the government to stop it. Without private property enforcement then the people who actually 'own' the factory (because there is no suit in the big city miles away who gets to choose what to do with it, 'own' is interchangable with 'use' in this respect) would be the same people who live in the town that the river goes through. If they don't want to pollute their river, they won't pollute it.

    In response to "How in the world is belief in government regulation of industry in line with belief in Anarchy?":
    It's not. Neither is belief in private or corporate ownership of property. Anarchy is the rejection of the state on the basis that it is a destructive hierarchy. I contend that private property is it's self a destructive hierarchy as well, thus if I have a choice between government ownership and private ownership, which I consider the same thing, I will choose the one which will result in the most favorable consequences. This is government ownership.

    My preference is no enforced ownership at all.
  7. Dec 4, 2005 #6


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    Out of interest what happens if there are 2 communities living by a river 1 up stream and 1 downstream. The people living upstream decide to pump their industrial waste into the river after it has passed their community thus poisoning the river for the people downstream and ignore requests to desist as they see their factory as being essential to their own well being and see no other practical way of disposing of the waste. Who gets to decide what the fairest resolution is and whose 'rights' prevail?
  8. Dec 4, 2005 #7
    That's not true at all. Without a state, the factory owner would simply higher guards to protect his factory. The factory owner would still want to produce whatever he's producing, and without the government to make sure his factory wasn't destroyed/stolen, he'd just have to take the impetus to protect his property himself.

    But in the absence of the state, there's no reason the factory owner would give up control of his factory to the populace, and you haven't presented any reason, you've just stated it as fact.

    Again, if there is no state, people will simply have to protect their property on their own. That's what's happened throughout history when there's minimal government control. That's why in the "Wild West" everyone had all sorts of guns, because there wasn't a powerful government to enforce private property laws, and many people would simply try to steal whatever they wanted. People didn't just give up their posessions, they bought guns and killed each other quite frequently over all sorts of things.
  9. Dec 4, 2005 #8
    By that time, socialist thought (as opposed to capitalist thought) will become the norm in society. The amount of people making incorrect decisions would be minimized. Collectives, voluntary organizations that work for the people, would deal what that issue. Certain essential laws would be dealt with through direct and voluntary democracy. The poisoning of the river would be stopped. You have to remember that class structure, the root cause of illogical thinking, will be gone in a libertarian socialist community.

    I am only offering one possibility that Smurf may disagree with, but I certainly believe that a corrupt state is enough a reason to destroy it. Afterwards, a new state will emerge. However, if socialism is achieved, equality will result and the state will be destroyed.
  10. Dec 4, 2005 #9
    Socialism doesn't work it makes it worse! Well at least the ideal of socialism in one country. In my opinion you must create a socialist world if you wish it to survive as this ensures all raw materials are obtainable to the state. However, in my mind this will indeed fail as well as the greed of man will corrupt the ideal. And if you don't agree c.f. Mao, USSR, ad infinitum
  11. Dec 4, 2005 #10
    Collectives can make decisions that are just as bad as ones made by individuals and a homogenous group of people can be just as illogical as a stratified one.

    Art's point, it seems, is in reference to a lack of state which is Smurf's preference. If there is no state then who makes and/or enforces the decision to not pollute the water of the river when the one community decides that it must continue to pollute the water to sustain itself?
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