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3841  Economy / Economics / Re: Global Markets Are Tanking on: September 23, 2011, 06:25:59 PM
Oh, btw gold and silver are ON SALE!  Perfect time to load up  Grin

$1635/Oz right now  Shocked Shocked Shocked

Sorry for the stupid question, but why does gold go down in risky times? The same thing happened in Oct 2008 as well. That's really counterintuitive for me.

Gold, and somewhat for silver, acts a bit differently than other commodities because of it's history as base money.  Obviously, some investors want to hold gold for reasons of capital preservation; but the largest gold holders (central banks, soverign wealth funds, etc) do so mostly as a liquid investment.  Intended to be sold in times of fiscal stress on other fronts.  For an example, mutual funds have to have some cash to buffer the many trades in and out of the fund on a daily basis; but some of the largest funds will also have a small percentage of the fund in physical gold.  They do this should there be a 'run' on the fund by spooked investors, but the managers don't want to sell equities assets in order to pay out to the panicing retirees heading for the exit.  Holding some small amount of gold allows the fund managers of actively managed funds the option of selling the fund's gold without being forced to sell the fund's equity assets into a falling market.  I think that this is what we have been seeing for the past two days with both gold & silver dropping so much.  I don't think that gold bugs are selling, nor individuals who hold gold as a personal 'insurance' against fiscal policy uncertainty.  This also implies that such fund managers don't believe that the drop in the stock market is more than a panic, otherwise some of them would be selling equities into the market and buying the gold sold by others, and thus there would be a tempered balance.
3842  Economy / Economics / Re: Does America Really Need More Jobs? on: September 23, 2011, 06:05:50 PM
I believe the 4 things to end unemployment are balanced budgets, full reserve banking, ending minimum wage, and ending unions.


Ending minimum wage laws or unions is unneccessary.  Minimum wage laws really don't have a huge effect upon employment, except for the lowest skilled labor pool.  And unions are a valid use of the right to assemble and engage in contract.  What might need to change is the laws that compel individuals (who own companies) to engage in contracts that they do not wish to participate in.  Corporations, however, are not people; and thus have no rights, only legal privilages.  If the governments that establish limited liability corporations as 'legal entities' independent of their investors wish to impose rules such as required recongnition of collective bargining representatives; then those are the rules.
3843  Economy / Economics / Re: Does America Really Need More Jobs? on: September 23, 2011, 06:00:08 PM


War is a natual result following your way of "evolution" thinking, if some people can not compete with Jews in intelligence, they can choose to compete with them in brutal force, that is Hitler did.

Competetion has a tendency to develope into a war, either in physical form or in mental form, why do you need a war when today's technology is more than enough to let everyone live a good life?

War is a natural state of mankind, regardless.  It's a peaceful civil society that requires effort on the part of people.  If you don't consider the riots happening in Europe a form of war, you will.  That said, I'm not advocating eugenics.  I'm just pointing out that there is a third option of simply letting things take their course.  That is the most likely possibility in any event.  Sometimes these things just have to follow through.  And if we are heading towards a Hobbesian limit (I don't know that we are, I don't know that we're not) would rather risk death in conflict, or simply watch your children starve?  If you're not continueously educating yourself and your children, your complacency is going to be your undoing one way or another.  At a minimum, learn how to grow a garden.  You don't need a job for that, just a backyard.
3844  Other / Politics & Society / Re: I've contemplated why man has created government... on: September 23, 2011, 05:06:21 AM
I don't need it to justify my beliefs.  I posted it so that others, including yourself, might benefit a little by a small breakdown in your cognative dissonance.  If you believe that you can just leave the US and renounce your citizenship and then you will be left alone, you are deluding yourself.  That might happen, but the US government meddles in the affairs of foreign citizens who have never set foot on US soil.  What on Earth makes you think that you would be immune whether or not there is a legal justification for it?  The only way for you to be certain that they will never come to tax you in a foreign land, is to never have anything worth the trip.
3845  Other / Politics & Society / Re: I've contemplated why man has created government... on: September 23, 2011, 01:13:07 AM
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/help-im-on-the-irs-hit-list/article2171697/

"Brian and his wife are from the States. He took out Canadian citizenship years ago. They’ve lived and worked in Canada for decades. They have no U.S. income or assets. They are 100-per-cent tax compliant – in Canada.

“Forget about it,” I advised. “What could they possibly do to you?”

We’re about to find out.

I’m on the IRS hit list, too. I came here at 13, and I’ve been a citizen since 1979. I don’t have a U.S. passport or any U.S. earnings. But the IRS wants to confiscate a large chunk of my retirement savings. Many of my friends are in the same fix. They send me e-mails saying things like, “Have you filled out the FBAR [Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts] yet?” The amnesty deadline has come and gone, and we still have no idea what to do.

“It’s not the back taxes that will kill you,” Brian told me. “It’s the penalties.” It turns out the IRS can fine you for every unreported bank account, mutual fund and RRSP – at a rate of $10,000 per offence per year. It can also confiscate as much as 25 per cent of the maximum amount you’ve held in each account. This is so absurd it can’t possibly be true. But it is. "

3846  Economy / Economics / Re: Freicoin (was Re: Deflation and Bitcoin, the last word on this forum) on: September 23, 2011, 12:17:45 AM
Anyways, I'm not going to rehash all of it here, there is a proposal and some actual discussion of encoin starts around page 3.

https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=44682.0

This is off topic.

That said, what info that I can find is light on details.  What I can find doesn't fill me with confidence.

If fees are destroyed, how are miners encentivized to mine?

And why destroy them?  This isn't clear.

What is the point?
3847  Bitcoin / Bitcoin Discussion / Re: Gavin and TruCoin on: September 22, 2011, 09:39:54 PM
Threads like this make me really wish that there was a way for people to sign up to my ignore list directly, and skip the extra steps of them having to write insane garbage and me having to read it.

Be thankful that you're not a mod, then.  Whenever someone clicks, "Report to Moderator" I get a copy of this crap in my email.
3848  Economy / Economics / Re: Does America Really Need More Jobs? on: September 22, 2011, 09:37:56 PM
Basically there are 2 alternatives:

Heavy tax the higher income people and return the money to those who lost the job due to automation
Reduce the working hours to 4 days a week (and salary of course) so that labor become scarce again

It seems government are just ignore such very obvious solution


There is an obvious third solution.

Educate yourself and/or your children to be able to compete in a rapidly advancing economy; or die off and make room on this planet for those who can.

It's called evolution, and it's one reason that ethnic Jews are the most intelligent race on average.  Because for hundreds of years, ethic Jews had neither a nation of their own, nor the basic right to own property in either Old Christiandom (Europe) or anywhere in the Middle East.  If you couldn't farm to feed your family, you and your children would have had to become the best businessmen around just to be able to feed your family as well.

Artifical support of those who cannot support themselves in the human race is counter evolutionary, and sooner or later nature is going to revert to the mean.  And it will be 'mean' in every sense.  When the USSR broke apart, leading directly into the collapse of the Russian economy, the life expecency of a Russian male was already much shorter than in the US and many "Western" democracies.  But it still dropped significantly in the next two years.

I think just like last great recession, we need world war III to wipe out excessive production power and useless people who are not able to compete with super intelligent guys due to their brain is not optimal when they were born

Oh, good God!  Not the "the war pulled us out of the depression" BS again!  You learned this economic "theory" in public school, didn't you?  War doesn't improve economies any more than a rock throwing vandal improves the GDP when a glazer has to fix the baker's shop window.  The US pulled out of the depression because, 1) the busybodies in Washington were too preoccupied with war issues to worry about "regulating" industry to death and 2) we bombed our biggest industrial competitors back 10 years or more all across Europe & Japan. 
3849  Economy / Economics / Re: Freicoin (was Re: Deflation and Bitcoin, the last word on this forum) on: September 22, 2011, 09:30:14 PM
Okay, I read your link.  And if this guy is representative of the "Free Money theory of interest" then I'm calling that theory bunk.  I'm not even going to bother to break it down.  If you wish to try to defend that crap, feel free, but otherwise don't refer to this crank as the basis for any more of your ideas.  I'll just lose more respect for your mind than I just did.
3850  Economy / Economics / Re: Freicoin (was Re: Deflation and Bitcoin, the last word on this forum) on: September 22, 2011, 09:24:16 PM
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Demurrage directly attacks the inflation premium, the profit you can do by using money to "move wares" better than barter. With abundant-money that profits tends to zero by competition, everybody can issue money. The payer can pay without cash. That's why capital money will have always a minimum sustained profit that Gesell called basic interest (gross interest = basic interest + risk premium + inflation premium).

I don't understand your explaination here.  And I don't agree that 'basic interest' is not trivial, or even always a postive number.

Well, you may not consider the interest as a flaw in gold. But since I think it is, demurrage (supressing interest) is a feature.


Well, as I already said, I don't consider interest a flaw (if indeed a flaw) of gold because it's not a feature of gold at all, but a product of contracts.  Bitcoin is likewise.  Even Freicoin, for that matter.  All of these currencies are independent of the interest rates that individual users charge.  I can see now how you intend to suppress the general interest rate, but I don't agree that is an advantage worthy of a new fork.  You certainly cannot force the market interest rate to below 0%, otherwise the user base of freicoin will flee to any alternative, the relative value of Freicoin would crash, and your fork would fail.  So even a 4% demurrage is dangerously high.  I wouldn't invest in any cryptocurrency with more than 1% APR demurrage.  Probably 0.5% would be high enough for the other advantages of demurrage; i.e. rotting away the value of lost addresses as an example.

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With ripple, the producers can sell their wares even if "there's no liquidity". Money exacts the basic interest from the wares:
http://www.community-exchange.org/docs/Gesell/en/neo/part5/3.htm


I'm aware of how ripple works.  It's a web-of-trust mutual credit system.  It's well done, for what it is.  But it's a credit network, not a currency.  It cannot work at all without a commonly established currency, whether that is US$, silver ounces or pounds of wheat berries.  Ripple doesn't have a metric, which is what currencies are at root.  Ripple only records, and consolodates, the trust that people will put in people that they know on behalf of other people that they know, and expresses that consolodated trust as credit available.

I'll try to read your link when I get a chance.
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When the monetary base is stable, miners will be rewarded with the same amount that is charged in concept of demurrage. It is charged through the protocol. For a transaction (and therefore the block that contains it) to be valid the following condition must be true:
 Sum(output) >= Sum( input * ( (1 - demurrage_rate_per_block) ^ (current_block - input_block_number) ) ) )
Does this mean that miners cannot waive the demurrage fee?  A universal demurrage fee isn't useful for encouraging desired behaviors either.  In order for the desired effects to occur, there has to be an alternative to paying full costs.

Just as miners (the protocol to be more accurate) doesn't let you spend more than 100 btc from an output that contains 100 btc, the protocol won't let you spend more than 95 fcn from an output that contains 100 fcn and is in the block chain for a year (assuming a 5% annual demurrage rate).
You're assuming that my desired effect is just to recover lost coins and save storage. But I want economic effects that need the demurrage to be unavoidable when holding the currency. To avoid the demurrage loss, you must spend, lend or invest.
Rewarding miners perpetually is another nice side effect, like recovering lost coins, but that's not the main purpose of demurrage here.

I see.  But if demurrage fees are unavoidable, then you are limiting how the system can encourage users to use the currency.  For example, this reduces the incentive to consolidate multiple transactions into a single transaction.  If the users have a grace peroid, say three months, that security is considered paid for by the transaction fees, then some will make an effort to avoind transactions growing older than three months so long as the cost of consolidating into a new transaction is cheaper than just taking the demurrage hit.  This encourages old transactions to update and also encourages miners into improving security buy participation.  If thedemurrage fee is a flat fee applied to each transaction in the blockchain, then users with many transactions are further encourages to freshen their holdings and reducing the blockchain load.  I really don't think that a ridgid percentage is really demurrage.  Demurrae is a cost of security in real currencies such as gold.  Literally the cost of renting a saftey deposit bos to hold the gold, which still costs the same no matter how much is eing kept.  Percentage fees aren't demurrage.
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A demurrage system that is rigid is not likely to achieve the social goals, if the users can take no other actions for reducing their loss other than leave the currency in favor of another method of storage of value.  In this respect, a rigid demurrage fee system isn't much better than a rigid/predictable inflation target.

Are you saying that freicoin is equivalent to expocoin (with exponential monetary growth, constant monetary inflation rate)?
For miners, yes. But...
constant monetary inflation rate:
1) Rises the nominal interest rates but does nothing against real interest rates.
2) Creates price inflation

demurrage with stable base:
1) Lowers real interest rates

I question this assertion.  At least, I question that it's effects on the market interest rate is not negligble.

So would you borrow bitcoins and freicoins at the same interest?
No, but not because of some theoretical 'basic interest' that you are trying to avoid.  Because of arbritrage.  I'm not likely to be lending in freicoin if I never bother to buy any, due to the losses that I can forsee.  Really, you can't see the problem with this plan?
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We're proposing a 4% or 5% demurrage rate. Hoarding is what makes V that unpredictable.

That is a amaturish view on velocity. There is simply too many variables to make such a blanket statement.  I can't een say if this is true or false in general, but I'd guess that it's likely false.
3851  Economy / Economics / Re: Does America Really Need More Jobs? on: September 22, 2011, 08:44:53 PM
Basically there are 2 alternatives:

Heavy tax the higher income people and return the money to those who lost the job due to automation
Reduce the working hours to 4 days a week (and salary of course) so that labor become scarce again

It seems government are just ignore such very obvious solution


There is an obvious third solution.

Educate yourself and/or your children to be able to compete in a rapidly advancing economy; or die off and make room on this planet for those who can.

It's called evolution, and it's one reason that ethnic Jews are the most intelligent race on average.  Because for hundreds of years, ethic Jews had neither a nation of their own, nor the basic right to own property in either Old Christiandom (Europe) or anywhere in the Middle East.  If you couldn't farm to feed your family, you and your children would have had to become the best businessmen around just to be able to feed your family as well.

Artifical support of those who cannot support themselves in the human race is counter evolutionary, and sooner or later nature is going to revert to the mean.  And it will be 'mean' in every sense.  When the USSR broke apart, leading directly into the collapse of the Russian economy, the life expecency of a Russian male was already much shorter than in the US and many "Western" democracies.  But it still dropped significantly in the next two years.
3852  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Libertarian Capitalism vs Social Democracy - A metaphor on: September 22, 2011, 08:33:09 PM

Making a road requires eminent domain.  As far as I know, that means you need a state of some kind.

Building a road requires that the property be owned by whatever agency that intends to build it.  Eminent domain is only a legal process established by governments in order to short cut the difficulties of aquiring said property.  Again, many private roads and highways have been built in America in the past; even though most of them have been taken as public property, they were still built privately. 
3853  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Libertarian Capitalism vs Social Democracy - A metaphor on: September 22, 2011, 08:29:11 PM

There isn't much evidence either way, but I'd say that no one in either of these two photos actually work directly for CalTrans.  They are all almost certainly employees of private contractors.  And those machines are not likely to be either owned, nor leased, by CalTrans or any other goverment agency of the State of California.

So thank you for proving the point so well.
3854  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Libertarian Capitalism vs Social Democracy - A metaphor on: September 22, 2011, 08:22:55 PM
Moonshadow, the person who does the labor is not really the issue. If there is a road, you have eminent domain and thats the state.  Whether the people doing the work are state employees or Build/Operate/Transfer contractors is just a detail.

It's not a trivial detail.  The post that I was responding to questioned how public infrastructure, and particularly public roads, could exist in a libertarian government model.  A model that doesn't support the concept of taxpayer funded infrastructure, and the question "what about the roads?" is the one that every detractor always comes up with thinking that they can paint libs into an ideological corner.  I was just pointing out that the libertarian model abhores public funding of infrastructure, but that doesn't neccessarily lead to the conclusion that such infrastructure wouldn't exist.  Many privately highways have existed in the US in the past, and a few still exist in this modern world.  The question of funding isn't trivial either, but if it can be solved; and there is no reason to believe that it cannot under a libertarian form of governance, then the rest really is trivial because the vast majority of publicly funded infrastructure isn't publicly constructed at present.  That was my entire point, and it still is.  No matter how someone might wish to attack my perspectives, it's still true that most public projects are privately implemented.
3855  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Libertarian Capitalism vs Social Democracy - A metaphor on: September 22, 2011, 07:01:26 PM
MoonShadow,

What a strange reply. The statement that rankled me was when you said: "Governments don't build roads." Totally false, and your reply indicates how odd your viewpoint is. It would be like us having the following conversation:

You: "Grocery stores don't sell groceries."
Me: "Uhhh, yes they do."
You: "No, the cashiers sell groceries. Grocers only manage it."


It's more like this..

Me:  "Customers don't run grocery stores, they only pay for them."
Youe: "Uhhh, sure they do, the customer is always in charge!"

The government is the customer.  The private contractor is the grocery store, and the privately employed skilled laborer is the cashier.

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I guess what you seem to think is the one who is paid to do subtasks of the overall project is considered the reason for the product getting to the consumer.


Uh, yes.  Of course.  The funding is just funding.  The actual people who do the work really are the most important factor.

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Most people would consider that project management, would they not?

That's a funny way to put it. It's almost as if you're saying ACME Engineering decided to build a road, and then hired the government to invest in the project, and then manage it.


No, I'm not.  You're big with burning straw, but not particularly good at it.  Again, the government is the customer in this deal, operating as the representative of the taxpayers (hopefully).  It's like the customer decided that a road needed to be built, and hired ACME Engineering to design it, present it's project for approval, and then build it once funding was present.

Actually, it's not like that at all.  It's exactly that.
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Some government agency finances and manages the maintaince contracts of completed roads.  Only very large cities such as Chicago and NYC do this kind of skilled labor without contracting out the work to private contractors, and even they do it sometimes.  It's literally impossible for smaller cities and independent towns to do it without contracting, because they can't maintain the expertise.  

Really? Just about every city out there has a public works yard filled with dump trucks, backhoes, and other such equipment, and they're sent out daily to do street repair.

I what throwback city do you live in?  I haven't seen an actual public works vehicle in over a decade, and even that was just a passenger van moving laborers with sidewalk brooms.

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And utility companies are private corporations, not mere extensions of government.  And like all companies, they have the right to sub-contract those maintaince duties to other, more specialized, contractors.  And they do, everywhere in America.

No fucking shit. What do you think I said in my prior post. But that isn't road building, is it?


It was another comparison.

3856  Economy / Economics / Re: Freicoin (was Re: Deflation and Bitcoin, the last word on this forum) on: September 22, 2011, 01:26:44 AM

3) Capital-money needs to be everlasting and scarce.


I disagree already.

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Freicoin is perishable and ripple is abundant.


I consider a perishable trade currency a bug, not a feature; and ripple is a p2p credit system, it's only as abundant as users are credit worthy.

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Demurrage directly attacks the inflation premium, the profit you can do by using money to "move wares" better than barter. With abundant-money that profits tends to zero by competition, everybody can issue money. The payer can pay without cash. That's why capital money will have always a minimum sustained profit that Gesell called basic interest (gross interest = basic interest + risk premium + inflation premium).


I don't understand your explaination here.  And I don't agree that 'basic interest' is not trivial, or even always a postive number.

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4) The implementation is quite simple in my opinion. All accounts are charged with demurrage automatically each block (without writing anything in the block chain).


But how?  I mean how is that actually enforced?  Is it taken as a fee once the funds are spent, or is there some other mechanism?  Can a miner chose to ignore it, like a miner can presently choose to favor a transaction dispite a higher fee offered by another, or is there some mechanism that requires the miner to enforce demurrage for all transactions?

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 When the monetary base is stable, miners will be rewarded with the same amount that is charged in concept of demurrage. It is charged through the protocol. For a transaction (and therefore the block that contains it) to be valid the following condition must be true:
 Sum(output) >= Sum( input * ( (1 - demurrage_rate_per_block) ^ (current_block - input_block_number) ) ) )


Does this mean that miners cannot waive the demurrage fee?  A universal demurrage fee isn't useful for encouraging desired behaviors either.  In order for the desired effects to occur, there has to be an alternative to paying full costs.
Quote
A demurrage system that is rigid is not likely to achieve the social goals, if the users can take no other actions for reducing their loss other than leave the currency in favor of another method of storage of value.  In this respect, a rigid demurrage fee system isn't much better than a rigid/predictable inflation target.

Are you saying that freicoin is equivalent to expocoin (with exponential monetary growth, constant monetary inflation rate)?
For miners, yes. But...
constant monetary inflation rate:
1) Rises the nominal interest rates but does nothing against real interest rates.
2) Creates price inflation

demurrage with stable base:
1) Lowers real interest rates


I question this assertion.  At least, I question that it's effects on the market interest rate is not negligble.

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2) Makes V (in the equation of exchange) more stable


I question this as well, velocity is effected by so many variables that I don't think you can claim that velocity is stablized in any great degree via demurrage.  Certainly not with a 10% APR demurrage that is inflexible and unavoidable.

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3) Recovers lost coins making M really stable (this is good for storage too, since old blocks can be forgotten)

How is this?  Do you just delete the transactions if they reach zero?  How?
3857  Economy / Economics / Re: Freicoin (was Re: Deflation and Bitcoin, the last word on this forum) on: September 22, 2011, 01:11:05 AM
A demurrage system that is rigid is not likely to achieve the social goals, if the users can take no other actions for reducing their loss other than leave the currency in favor of another method of storage of value.  In this respect, a rigid demurrage fee system isn't much better than a rigid/predictable inflation target.

You are missing the point. Freicoin is not meant to be a store of value, it gives up that property in order to encourage investing and spending.

But that is a contradiction.  In order for there to be investing and spending in relation to a currency, it must also be fairly good as a storage of value.  At least as good as the Euro or US $.  Otherwise, your spenders are never going to spend in Freicoin, because they never have an incentive to earn it.  Credit works in our debt laden economy because the credit is based upon the US $, which is still a decent store of value compared to a demurrage rate of 10% APR.
3858  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Libertarian Capitalism vs Social Democracy - A metaphor on: September 22, 2011, 12:51:33 AM
just seems a bit unwieldy. its simpler to just go and govern and make things happen rather than let weeds take over the garden? dig a hole, plant some fruit trees. And eat fruit. You might get lucky with some wild berries. But they might be poisonous.

If you are referring to the concept of a private police force patroling a public or private network of roads as being unwieldy, I would agree.  I was pointing out that it's possible within the current social order without changes that would be dramatic to the casual observer.  I'm not suggesting it as a solution, only an example of how a lib society could actually solve the problem of "enforcement of the traffic laws" in a post-government civil society.  We can't even know how it would actually happen, and I don't even personally support the absolute 'anarchist' ideal anyway.  I think that governments exist because they serve a particular niche (justice, collective defense) very efficiently.  The problem that I have with governments is that they have a perverse incentive to expand the mission into ever more facets of private life.
3859  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Libertarian Capitalism vs Social Democracy - A metaphor on: September 22, 2011, 12:42:55 AM
Governments don't build roads in America.  They never have.  They fund roads and maintaince via taxation, but there are other ways to fund roads if need be.  The roads are built and maintained by construction contractors, and governments (at most) function as management.

Wrong.


You contradict yourself immediately...

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1 ) The government decides to build roads (except in the case of a new tract under development by a developer).
2 ) The government sets up a planning commission which involves public and private planning firms.
3 ) The government decides on a plan, involving many government organizations, ranging from the ESA, the EPA, city councils, and so on.  

Based upon the research, work and recommendations of private planning firms.  Governments don't have planning firms, btw.

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4 ) The government contracts various firms to do the actual surveying, grading and paving.
5 ) Some government agency (state transportation agency, etc., depending on jurisdiction) oversees the project to completion.


Most people would consider that project management, would they not?

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6 ) Some government agency (state transportation agency, etc., depending on jurisdiction) maintains the completed road, installs signs, etc.


Some government agency finances and manages the maintaince contracts of completed roads.  Only very large cities such as Chicago and NYC do this kind of skilled labor without contracting out the work to private contractors, and even they do it sometimes.  It's literally impossible for smaller cities and independent towns to do it without contracting, because they can't maintain the expertise.  And states don't do it because of the distances involved and political issues with county governments that make such a thing a logistical nightmare.


EDIT:  A single paving machine can cost over $100K, and unlike a fire truck which sits still most of it's service life, a paving machine needs to be in nearly constant use in order for the costs of road maintaince to remain low.  This also means that the machine itself needs constant professional maintaince as well.  And this is just one type of specialized equipment required in road maintaince.  Can a city own one of these?  Sure, but it's not cost effective for a city to do so, because a single city's public works department is unlikey to be able to keep the machine in service.  At least not as well as a contracting company that owns twenty of them, employs 15 operators full time, and two mechanics.  The kinds of specialized equipment that cities tend to own fall into the catagory of 'physical insurance', such as salt trucks in cities that freeze and fire pumper boats in cities near trade waterways.  Many cities have enough trouble just keeping their police helicopters in flight ready condition.
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7 ) Sometimes, that government agency hires outside contractors to engage in significant repairs or improvements.


That sometimes is the vast majority of the time.  I would say almost all of the time, but I have no doubt that there are a few exceptions.

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8 ) Utility companies are allowed, as per agreements with the government, to do installation and maintenance on their utilities which lie underneath the road or alongside it.  

And utility companies are private corporations, not mere extensions of government.  And like all companies, they have the right to sub-contract those maintaince duties to other, more specialized, contractors.  And they do, everywhere in America.

This is a field that I have worked within in the past, from several different perspectives.  I know how things actually get done.  You should try to consider your practical understanding of a topic before posting about issues for which you know not.
3860  Other / Politics & Society / Re: Libertarian Capitalism vs Social Democracy - A metaphor on: September 21, 2011, 09:16:02 PM

 For example, I can't figure out how I would be driving a car or a bicycle around the city if there were no government to draw and enforce the rules of traffic. How would it work? Who would yield whom at an intersection? What would we do with dangerous drivers? Who's to say? These are not trivial questions. Of course, one can say how people would come up with rules "by themselves", but there would need to be some kind of framework for discussion, decision making, and even enforcement. And that, to me, is the government.


These are not trivial questions, but they are questions with real world solutions besides government.  In fact, I'd be willing to wager that the roads that you drive on were no built by government, are not maintained by a government, and could also be policed by a private contractor even though they are not presently, and you would likely never notice the differences.

Governments don't build roads in America.  They never have.  They fund roads and maintaince via taxation, but there are other ways to fund roads if need be.  The roads are built and maintained by construction contractors, and governments (at most) function as management.  In fact, none of your vital public infrastructure is provided for you by any direct actions of a government official, beyond the funding aspect.  Even in areas that the water or electic companys are publicly owned monopolies, the work of maintaince and expansion of the infrastructure network is done by employees of private industry.  Hell, even the police and military were somewhat private enterprises in the United States once upon a time.  The term 'constable' (where we get the term "cop" from, i.e. "constable on patrol") is an English word that literally refers to a privately hired policeman.  To this day, the county that I live in, and technically every county in the state, has two publicly elected positions for constables, who are not paid by any government agency for the office.  They are private security companies with state honored police powers.  One guy gets elected to the office, and hires off-duty cops to patrol banks and ride along with bounty hunters and serve private civil court summons, etc.  It's likely similar in your own city.  The enforcement of the traffic codes could likewise be performed by private companies.  For example, what if the funds from a traffic ticket went into the coffers of the constable's office after being proven in an independent traffic court?  Enforcement would be both better, and more just, then is presently so.
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