Monday, November 12, 2012

10 social problems, and their solutions

You mean I don’t have to find and kill anyone? 

1. If you want to reduce trafficking, legalize prostitution
Being against a certain practice should not equate to ‘stricter’ prohibitive laws. 
Legalizing prostitution would flood the ‘sex trade’ with competition, for which violent elements would lose wealth. After all, what clients of traffickers would risk procuring a slave when they could choose among willing companions?

2. If you want to reduce idiocy among people, eliminate the DepEd
Who should define what constitutes an ‘educated’ person? No one. That is, there should be no single set of criteria through which people should be judged. Today, much of what is practical to one’s career has nothing to do with what is taught in school. Imagine if those earlier formative years were devoted to individuals’ strengths and interests. This would make for a more efficient division of labor, not to mention smarter people.

3. If you want to stop overcharging by public utility companies, eliminate government franchises
There is much opposition to the concept of monopoly, and indeed, with the numerous privileges granted to supposedly ‘private’ corporations such as Meralco or PLDT, we can expect subpar services, where a brighter alternative never makes its way to reality. A more competitive environment begins with eliminating government privileges in the first place.

4. If you want to reduce incidence of patients being denied treatment at hospitals, eliminate government licensure examinations
There is much fear that ‘deregulating’ the health care sector means throwing standards out the window. In fact, standards that are responsive to actual patients’ needs can only come about in a competitive ‘free-for-all’ environment where no single agency determines competence of practitioners.

5. If you want to end smuggling, abolish Customs
What is to be feared about ‘smuggled’ products? Low prices? Substandard goods? Reduced local jobs? If mistrust was directed towards government collection and use of funds (a coercive process) instead of profit-oriented businesses (which require voluntary patronage), perhaps ‘protection’ of enterprise would give way to a more consumer-oriented direction of entrepreneurial energies.

6. If you want to reduce unemployment, eliminate union privileges
Unions, granted privileges by labor laws, may raise nominal wages, but in doing so reduce productivity, ultimately resulting in lower real wages and less employable people.

7. If you want to reduce smoking among the population, legalize marijuana
Smoking tobacco stinks. But absent healthier, non-addictive alternatives for vices such as marijuana, people resort to tobacco and liquor. The ban on marijuana also makes for more powerful criminal organizations, as they are protected from cheaper, peaceful competition.

8. If you want to reduce flooding and pollution, privatize sewage and other infrastructure
Local governments can implement these paper bag policies till hell freezes over, and nothing will be achieved in terms of solving the drainage problem most evident during rainy season. If you want accountability in the upkeep of infrastructure, private property is the way.

9. If you want to reduce laundering, or the transacting for illicit activities, legalize gambling, drugs and prostitution
Money laundering is just a made-up offense that gives governments an excuse to control the flow of money. By legalizing what are perceived to be vices, the less violence there will be in these sectors, and thus less money will change hands in the conduct of activities that involve coercion.

10. If you want to free up roads, eliminate transport licenses
Transport licenses make for unduly high costs on the part of transport companies. These costs are passed on to commuters. What’s more, these licenses prevent the entry of vehicles owned by companies that are more cost-conscious. At present, government-protected companies can bring on the road near-empty vehicles that make for heavier traffic, because the artificially high fares also justify such a practice.

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The common element in the problems enumerated above, is government barriers to competition. The solutions as listed merely remove these barriers that have no place anyway in civilized, voluntary society.

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