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  • #76
    Originally posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
    But at the same time without government involvement there would be next to no infrastructure available for work to be done in the economy.
    That has to be one of the single stupidest things I have heard you say so far. Lets think of some common infrastructures: roads are maintained by private companies that are contracted by the government, if the government didn't pay them then people would have to pay them directly and it would probably cost us a ton less, next time you are stuck in traffic near a person spinning a stop/slow sign ask them how much they are making an hour to do it at tax payers expense. Depending on where you live it would be between $20-30 an hour, the guys running the machines get more. Telecommunication is all run by private companies. Train lines were laid down by private companies and the trains are still run by private companies. Mining, drilling, and logging companies, once again all private. Most industries are nearly entirely private. Most hospitals and the vast majority of insurance companies are also private. There are plenty of private schools that all tend to get far better ratings than public schools to show once again another area where a public institution fails us. Post/delivery services are thriving in the private sector while every week more public post offices close down. Police/military all rely on overpriced equipment bought through government contracts from private companies for extortionary rates that all comes out of the tax payer pockets; once again at much higher prices than private security forces would likely pay, as private companies wouldn't stand for the inflated prices the way corrupt government officials do.
    Last edited by IanS; 07-21-2013, 05:45 PM.

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    • #77
      Originally posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
      But at the same time without government involvement there would be next to no infrastructure available for work to be done in the economy. Most companies depend significantly on infrastructure which time and time again the private market has shown to be unable to or at least be very inept at providing. And there are some very good reasons for this - the amount of capital needed to maintain and build this infrastructure is almost always beyond that which can be profitably sustained by a smaller operator, meaning that only the government or one of your oligarchies can sustainably provide it. Even with that considered though, most of this infrastructure is still built at a loss, something that only a government can really handle as it does not operate purely on the profit motive. There is also the fact that most infrastructure needs to be a public institution (like the police) in order for it to be reliably used by most private parties without fear of abuse. So if pure Capitalism's greatest flaw is the problems caused by government involvement, it seems to be a flaw that it can not readily escape from.
      This is a really good post. I enjoyed reading it.

      In Ohio we have our Turnpike which is in the process of being privatized. The state is literally selling it to a foreign company. I don't know the full details on why, but it's clear that the state is losing mountains of money trying to keep this thing maintained. It seems apparent that this company buying the turnpike thinks it can turn it around and make a profit. But what happens if they can't? Do they close it down? That road gets used by millions of people. I personally rely on it. Whats going to happen now?

      I'm just pointing out that a hybrid government is a good thing in some cases.

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      • #78
        Originally posted by IanS View Post
        Lets think of some common infrastructures: roads are maintained by private companies that are contracted by the government, if the government didn't pay them then people would have to pay them directly and it would probably cost us a ton less, next time you are stuck in traffic near a person spinning a stop/slow sign ask them how much they are making an hour to do it at tax payers expense.
        Private business would need to find a way to charge for the use of their road in order to keep it up. So either every road in the country would need to become a toll road (or have some kind of toll attached). Building the infrastructure for that would cost money. If a company had several important roads it seems unlikely that they'd keep the costs down just to be lovely. With a government granting contracts they can go to another company for the same service. When was the last time you saw a toll road reduce its fee?

        Originally posted by IanS View Post
        Telecommunication is all run by private companies.
        English roll-out of fibre and modbile signal isn't exactly stellar, with some regions simply unable to get any time of broadband or mobile phone signal. I think the situation is similar in the US. Go private infrastructure!

        Originally posted by IanS View Post
        Train lines were laid down by private companies and the trains are still run by private companies.
        In England the trains are run by private companies and the ticket prices are near-extortionate. Contrast to Germany where Deutsche Bahn is owned by the state: tickets are embarassingly cheaper and the trains are much more punctual. Go private infrastructure!

        Originally posted by IanS View Post
        There are plenty of private schools that all tend to get far better ratings than public schools to show once again another area where a public institution fails us.
        Just think about that one for a minute. Many of those private schools charge thousands per term, make all schools like them and suddenly most children's parents can't afford to educate them. Go private infrastructure!

        Originally posted by IanS View Post
        private companies wouldn't stand for the inflated prices the way corrupt government officials do.
        Exactly - no private company has ever had anybody corrupt working for them! ;-)

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        • #79
          @archibald:

          Oh I would agree that private infrastructure is far from perfect, but the point I was making is that most of it IS private, and has been since the beginning, to think the government has much of anything to do with it other than as something to be exploited or as a regulatory body is laughable. As to your point on trains, I wasn't so much talking about passanger trains, frieght is still the most important role that trains play a part in and it is vastly cheaper in most cases to move a lot of heavy material over land via train rather than by a fleet of big rigs or by air.

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          • #80
            So this thread went from kernel patches to trains?

            Wonderful.


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            • #81
              @synaptix

              Lol, this is Phoronix, it isn't so much about the destination as it is the journey!

              Comment


              • #82
                Originally posted by IanS View Post
                That has to be one of the single stupidest things I have heard you say so far. Lets think of some common infrastructures: roads are maintained by private companies that are contracted by the government, if the government didn't pay them then people would have to pay them directly and it would probably cost us a ton less, next time you are stuck in traffic near a person spinning a stop/slow sign ask them how much they are making an hour to do it at tax payers expense.
                If it is being paid for by public money, then it is not private infrastructure, no matter who gets the contract to build it. The impetus for the construction of roads and their upkeep is still generated by the government. As to your other assertion here, I will just add my assent to the comment by archibald on the subject of toll roads.

                Originally posted by IanS View Post
                Telecommunication is all run by private companies.
                Which is hardly a shining example of the wonders of the free market. As a rural internet user in a country with some of the worst ISPs in the world, I am hardly going to go and sing their praises for what continues to be a national embarrassment. And that is not even going into the problems we have had with our phone companies as well.

                Originally posted by IanS View Post
                Train lines were laid down by private companies and the trains are still run by private companies.
                One should be very careful about making such large sweeping statements, as they easily become fallible to just one single example to the contrary. For instance, consider BC Rail, which was the third-largest railway in Canada and ran as public crown corporation until it was later privatized. And before you start crowing about the fact it was privatized, you just need to look a bit further into the circumstances surrounding that to see it was one the biggest boondoggles in BC history, and a lasting embarrassment to the provincial government. Most railways in Canada currently or in the past operated as crown corporations. So your assertion is very wrong, at least in this country.

                Originally posted by IanS View Post
                Mining, drilling, and logging companies, once again all private.
                Resource extraction is not really the same thing as infrastructure. And given your past record, I think you should offer a bit more evidence that EVERY SINGLE ONE of these industries are all done by private entities, with no trace of government assistance.

                Originally posted by IanS View Post
                Most industries are nearly entirely private.
                But we are talking specifically about infrastructure.

                Originally posted by IanS View Post
                Most hospitals and the vast majority of insurance companies are also private.
                Again, not in my country, and I am very thankful that I live in a country where if I have an emergency I will not be burdened with health care costs. Most of the issues me and my family have had are in the awkward places where private medicine still creeps in, and those have been nightmares. Companies pay less on their employees health care and our government pays less in health care costs than they do in the United States, where your comment rings more true.

                Originally posted by IanS View Post
                There are plenty of private schools that all tend to get far better ratings than public schools to show once again another area where a public institution fails us.
                All of my education has come through my countries and my provinces public education system. It is not perfect, but I am glad that I live in a country where I can be given the privilege to learn without being expected to pay for it all myself. I am glad I live in a country with public institutions that did not leave me behind because I came from a poorer background. Private can never claim that.

                Originally posted by IanS View Post
                Post/delivery services are thriving in the private sector while every week more public post offices close down.
                I know for a fact that in my country a lot of this has to do with obstruction by right wing politicians trying to sell off even more public infrastructure to their corrupt friends under the guise of privatization.

                Originally posted by IanS View Post
                Oh I would agree that private infrastructure is far from perfect, but the point I was making is that most of it IS private, and has been since the beginning, to think the government has much of anything to do with it other than as something to be exploited or as a regulatory body is laughable.
                And you provided no sources to back this claim up and have already been shown to be wrong on several of these points. So excuse me for not laughing.

                One area you have been quite silent on, one of the most key infrastructures that any Country can possess, is power generation. When my province privatized it they told us that it would increase efficiency, cut down on costs, and help expand sagging infrastructure. But instead it became more expensive, less reliable, and those promised power plants never got built. It was hardly a harrowing success.

                The sad thing is that what I have described above is becoming the norm, as more and more of our public infrastructure is falling into private hands and becoming less reliable and less accessible to the public at large. Unfortunately for us Power Generation, Rail, Insurance, Schooling, Marketing Boards, and other key services are either being stolen from the public who built them and squandered as a result or being deliberately mishandled to later justify them being sold off, increasing poverty and destitution in my country to a sickening degree. I do not need to buy into your gumdrop and lollipops vision as I am already beginning to see it, and it stinks. I am just glad that I did get to benefit from some of my countries public heritage before our current administrations finish dismantling all of it.
                Last edited by Hamish Wilson; 07-21-2013, 10:11 PM.

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                • #83
                  I'm Goldilocks!

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                  • #84
                    Originally posted by IanS View Post
                    Telecommunication is all run by private companies.
                    And how well are they being ran? Here's a great example of the "joys of privatization": The $/bandwidth cost of sending a SMS to your neighbour is more expensive than it costs to send data to/from the Mars rover. Telecom companies charge outrageous sums for very small bandwidth transmissions, and the only reason they get away with this is inertia - so many people are still in the closed network of telephone, that it's not feasible for most people to move fully away from it. Mobile carriers are fighting against net neutrality, because they hate the free internet - they don't get to gouge on prices on a free, net-neutral internet.

                    Now these telecom companies have so much fat in their corporations, so much unnecessary infrastructure and bureaucracy, that they've become the very antithesis of efficiency. The ITU - the international union of telecom corporations, an UN-based organization even - tried to do a massive powergrab on the internet because of this. They quite simply want to keep on gouging prices and it's becoming harder for them to do, thanks to online communications which are literally several orders of magnitude cheaper (even in the most expensive data plans) than phone calls and SMS messages, when you count the $/bandwidth.

                    Similar problems apply to many other fields of private corporations offering crucial services to citizens. Healthcare, education, security, military, prisons - when you take a service that is necessary for society and privatize it, it becomes basically a money drain - the private company owning the service then gets to extort money from the society to pay out the huge salaries of the top bosses, in exchange providing a bare minimum of what is required of them.

                    Not that government institutions handle things efficiently all the time either. But it's much easier to privatize publicly owned services than it is to make privately operated services public - which brings an imbalance to the whole equation.

                    The thing is, the ultra-libertarian view of "remove all government regulation cuz government iz evil" is extremely na´ve. The same is true for the opposite view by some extreme left-wing political types, that "coporations are evil and government regulation is always good". Government is only a tool, corporations are only a part of the economy, and regulation is not inherently good or bad. Good regulation needs to be applied in such a way that is in the best interests of the public and causes minimal interference to people's lives. When governments become corrupt, and politicians are allowed to receive bribes, the line between government and corporations becomes so thin that it's basically all the same - government regulation becomes just a tool to deal out subsidies to corporations and a rubberstamp to justify their abuses and violations of citizens rights. That's pretty much where we in the EU and USA and most other countries are at right now, more or less.

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                    • #85
                      Update: Actually it seems as if the discussion in LKML moved from “Linus acts as an asshole” to “Linus flames were needed, but others here use a rough tone without need, and that makes us unwelcoming to newcomers”.

                      “Stop discussing that I’m acting like an asshole, you idiots╣, and keep working” — uh…

                      ╣: “pull requests…from the people who are…too smarter to get involved”

                      That there is a flame war at all shows that there is a problem. Otherwise 99% of the kernel developers would simply say “shut up and let Linus do his job”.

                      The week off is an obvious consequence of his discussion style, and he should just suck it up professionally. A week off for discussion social interaction on the ML is a good investment, if it helps making discussions more constructive on the long run. A quote from the discussion:

                      “I met more than one good ex-Linux hacker that decided to move to do other things because of this.” — Stefano Stabellini
                      Last edited by ArneBab; 07-22-2013, 04:11 AM.

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                      • #86
                        Originally posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
                        The sad thing is that what I have described above is becoming the norm, as more and more of our public infrastructure is falling into private hands and becoming less reliable and less accessible to the public at large. Unfortunately for us Power Generation, Rail, Insurance, Schooling, Marketing Boards, and other key services are either being stolen from the public who built them and squandered as a result or being deliberately mishandled to later justify them being sold off, increasing poverty and destitution in my country to a sickening degree. I do not need to buy into your gumdrop and lollipops vision as I am already beginning to see it, and it stinks. I am just glad that I did get to benefit from some of my countries public heritage before our current administrations finish dismantling all of it.
                        The difference between public and private is a difference in control - at least in a democracy:

                        - Public services are being paid for by all and controlled by all - with one vote per person (plus corruption).

                        - Private services are being paid for by the users and controlled by the owners (plus corruption). If the service is crucial and a natural monopoly, then all pay for them but only a few control them. For example roads are a natural monopoly: You cannot have an infinite number of roads leading from point A to point B: There is only a limited amount of free space and you cannot build a road on another one without wrecking the other road. Even *crossing* another road has a price.

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                        • #87
                          Originally posted by dee. View Post
                          The thing is, the ultra-libertarian view of "remove all government regulation cuz government iz evil" is extremely na´ve. The same is true for the opposite view by some extreme left-wing political types, that "coporations are evil and government regulation is always good". Government is only a tool, corporations are only a part of the economy, and regulation is not inherently good or bad. Good regulation needs to be applied in such a way that is in the best interests of the public and causes minimal interference to people's lives. When governments become corrupt, and politicians are allowed to receive bribes, the line between government and corporations becomes so thin that it's basically all the same - government regulation becomes just a tool to deal out subsidies to corporations and a rubberstamp to justify their abuses and violations of citizens rights. That's pretty much where we in the EU and USA and most other countries are at right now, more or less.
                          Actually, I do mostly agree with this, despite arguably being one of those "extreme left-wing political types". The only place I differ is that I do not believe the corporate model is the only model that can be applied outside of government, and feel that it is one of the worst ways that such a things can be handled as the employee/employer relationship is hardly different from that of the serf/lord. Even ostensibly private organizations can be run in a more public manner, at least for the people who work in them, as is shown by coopertives which are essentially commercial enterprises democratized to be controled by the people who are a part of them. But you did hit the nail on the head here - he beleives in utopian capitalism just as much as some groups belieive in utopian socialism.

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                          • #88
                            Originally posted by ArneBab View Post
                            The difference between public and private is a difference in control - at least in a democracy:

                            - Public services are being paid for by all and controlled by all - with one vote per person (plus corruption).

                            - Private services are being paid for by the users and controlled by the owners (plus corruption). If the service is crucial and a natural monopoly, then all pay for them but only a few control them. For example roads are a natural monopoly: You cannot have an infinite number of roads leading from point A to point B: There is only a limited amount of free space and you cannot build a road on another one without wrecking the other road. Even *crossing* another road has a price.
                            Yeah, pretty much, which is why I mentioned key infrastructure as needing to be an essentially public service. It needs to be provided for all even though it is often not profitable to do so, and it becomes such an important part of peoples lives that it can not be expected to be controlled by a few private hands.

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                            • #89
                              Originally posted by ArneBab View Post
                              “I met more than one good ex-Linux hacker that decided to move to do other things because of this.” — Stefano Stabellini
                              "The thing about FatELF is that I was completely blindsided by the reaction I got to it. It’s not a big change in the first place, and didn’t disrupt existing systems at all, but added an interesting piece of functionality for almost zero cost. I was well-researched on the topic, built a lot of it upfront, and even had a whole proof-of-concept virtual machine ready to download. I didn’t want to look like a n00b when I showed up to make my pitch, because it’s the Linux kernel, and this is the Big League. But man, I encountered some hostility. It was weird, it was like being in junior high school again and getting picked on by the cool kids in the lunch room. Maybe I’m just sore about it; people can judge for themselves from the mailing list archives. I have a whole list of things, like FatELF, that I’d like to build someday. Make the Linux system better in various ways. FatELF just seemed like a good place to start. But I walked away from that failure thinking, “why would I want to cooperate with these people?” I considered moving to Mac OS X full time. Eventually I calmed down and adjusted my list to prioritize things that didn’t need patches to other projects." - Ryan C. Gordon (http://linuxgamenews.biz/2012/11/30/...-linux-gaming/)

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                              • #90
                                Originally posted by Hamish Wilson View Post
                                Yeah, pretty much, which is why I mentioned key infrastructure as needing to be an essentially public service. It needs to be provided for all even though it is often not profitable to do so, and it becomes such an important part of peoples lives that it can not be expected to be controlled by a few private hands.
                                While I do fundamentally agree with you, I think that a compromize needs to be had. At least in the US this idea that government should pay for anything that is deemed to be unprofitibale but required is a major issue. It's this entitlement attitude that people have. This gratification society we live in. To an extent it is warranted and reasonable, but many politicians and lobbyists have gone too far and our governments financial future is what is at stake here.

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