Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Just a reminder

Since I've been praising the social and cultural institutions of rich western countries recently, I think it's worth remembering what I would do if I were the (benevolent of course) dictator of one of them (America lets say).

  • Legalise drugs.
  • Legalise prostitution.
  • Legalise polygamy.
  • Abolish just about all public services and most regulations. Public schools would go, the minimum wage, most health and safety laws stringent controls of drug testing; the list goes on a bit.
  • Slash taxes.
  • Offer criminals a choice of punishment in many cases. Usually some form of (mild) torture instead of prison time. Possibly castration for sexual offenders.
  • All but abolish immigration restrictions.
  • Ban (yes ban!) factory farming and many other practices involving animals.

Of course, this isn't all, but it does suggest that I'm hardly complacent about the status quo.

9 comments:

Greg Torr said...

But would you legalise flag burning?

sid said...

Legalise polygamy?

Stuart said...

Greg- Dude, there are limits...

Sid- yip.

Tracy said...

hi sid, I'm sure Stuart also means that women could have many husbands if they so wanted. Right Stu?

The question is who would?

Trevor Black said...

So you don't believe that Public Goods suffer when purely left to `the invisible hand'?

I get that legalising prostitution thing, but do think this would have to go hand in hand with regulation.

Like Tracy says, desire would probably limit polygamy. And yup, this should extend to men and women, and presumably there should be some form of transparency about it all?

Schools... yup they are inefficient, but without them... hmmm... not convinced this supports meritocracy.

I am in favour of Estate Tax. I think Dynastic Wealth is a big big problem pretty much equivalent to aristocracy/monarchy.

I agree with the immigration things, but think that if you have left a country, you should have to pay steep fees if you choose to return. Those who stay and sort out the *&^$ should receive some sort of reward.

Disagree with the choice of torture thing. Criminals need to be removed from society, I think. Agree though that current prison systems don't work, and probably just serve as `universities of crime'.

I won't comment of the animal stuff... pleading ignorance.

Trevor Black said...

Oh yes... why are you against flag burning?

Stuart said...

of course women could have many husbands!!!

Flag burning thing was a little joke.

"So you don't believe that Public Goods suffer when purely left to `the invisible hand'?"

Some would, government would still do those things, the question is, what percentage of current progrmas should stay? A very small %

"but do think this would have to go hand in hand with regulation."

what kind of regulation?

"Schools... yup they are inefficient, but without them... hmmm... not convinced this supports meritocracy."

the important thing is to compare the future state with the status quo though.

"I am in favour of Estate Tax. I think Dynastic Wealth is a big big problem pretty much equivalent to aristocracy/monarchy."

I don't know. I'm sympathetic to this view, but I feel very strongly that Bill Gates should be able to do whatever he wants with his money, including give it to his kids, who would be taxed in other way of course. I also think that rules requiring a certain % of endowments be spent each year are stupid and destructive.

I wont add anything about immigration and crime.

Trevor Black said...

Regulation wrt Prositution:

Health Care, Legal Protection in cases of physical harm, eish... I want to say a minimum wage but this flies in the face of what I believe about minimum wages... (here my gut makes me feel there should be an exception)... Restricted areas where it is permissable (Red Light Districts)

Dynastic Wealth

Carlos Slim Helu isn't as benevolent as Bill or Warren... I have a big problem with his son automatically becoming his successor, and his son after him.

I have a HUGE problem with the idea that some people live off the dividends of their parents labour and basically go through adulthood in the lap of luxury.

I see ZERO fundamental difference between this and Aristocracy/Monarchy... I don't know what the solution is, but I do think it Warren Buffet is right in saying `Dynastic Wealth is the biggest enemy of Meritocracy'

the princess said...

that's a thought provoking post for sure. i'm all for the legalise drugs, prostitution and castration or sex offenders. interesting about the factory farming. I haven't really given much thought to that aspect of life. I suppose it's all conditioning (how we are brought up and what is "normal").