What I find fascinating is that those in government, all over the world, are seen or see themselves as partners in the advancement of commerce and technology. If the people in government are so adept and effective at business management, why are they in government? Why are they not running successful businesses themselves? The notion that a politician or government bureaucrat can advance the cause of the economy, as a whole, of any country is laughable and absurd on its face. The only thing they can do, and do quite effectively, is to tilt and steer the economy to benefit themselves and their “crony” business partners at the expense of the vast majority of the population.
The fact is that public-private partnerships are used solely and exclusively to: 1) curry favor for certain special interests, businesses and industries at the expense of the rest of the population (domestic and international protectionism) and 2) separate the average citizen and consumer from their wallet to further enhance the position of those profiting from the established public-private monopolies or cartels. The average citizen or consumer loses three times by having to: 1) pay taxes to fund the partnerships that, 2) reduce the products and services they have access to and 3) by paying more for the products and services they do end up purchasing. There is nothing more disgusting than public-private partnerships and the income and wealth inequality that it breeds. Well, there is one thing that is more disgusting, some pig politician or bureaucrat impoverishing the masses through public-private partnerships and then pandering for votes or support by establishing income and wealth inequality measures as a major platform initiative.
To study the history of government and industry is to conclude that even with all the advancements of modern-day technology and all the lipstick one can apply, public-private partnerships are still for pigs. And the phenomenon is not exclusive to the United States, or the western world. The “miracles” in Asia, China, Singapore, and Japan, in the 1970’s and 1980’s, are all examples of modern-day versions of the mercantile economies referred to by Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations. The Singapore government recently unveiled a 50-year platform of tried and true public-private government-crony wealth concentration strategies. Here is a chart that outlines the particulars, compliments of @zodakreza.
The good news is, for those that do not benefit directly from strip mining the countries natural and intellectual resources through government “initiatives” and protected monopolies and cartels, modern-day governments, including the one in Singapore, and unlike some governments of the past, at least throw crumbs to the excluded and less fortunate. Is it out of compassion? public relations? the realization that wealthy privileged government-connected people need unprivileged non-government-connected people to clean their toilets? the threat of rebellion? or maybe its just a lot of work shoveling dead children from the streets? It is difficult to say, and is probably a combination of all of these factors, that welfare, in all of its forms, plays a major role in all “developed” economies.
Oh, but wait Milton, don’t you understand that without government, business would lack the wherewithal to accomplish such great things! Government helps companies create and build new technologies! Oh, ok, let’s follow that logic; business is nothing without government and technology would not advance or would advance less quickly without government involvement. If this is true, those in business, entrepreneurs, capitalists and industry specialists, are the drag on innovation and economic development, and politicians, bureaucrats and, naturally, 100% state-owned and operated businesses and pure communist economies, are surely the drivers of technology and economic wealth and are examples we should admire and emulate. Have you been to a US Post Office recently? Does the Soviet Union still exist? or, did it collapse? Are government agencies and departments known for their innovation? efficiency? effectiveness? The line of reasoning, government enhances commerce and technology, is pure demagoguery and lacks rationality. The true nature of government involvement in this area is either; 1) a company or industry has old, or dying, technology, 2) an outdated business model, or 3) develops a new technology, product or service, and then lobbies government for protection against competition, both domestic and foreign. The outcome is that government involvement serves as a drag on the economy and slows technological advancement that would occur under a free and competitive open market unencumbered by government protection.
Oh, ok, Milton, you have a good point, but everybody is doing it! How is Singapore supposed to compete with other countries if the government does not provide tax breaks and subsidies? Japan, the United States, all of the governments in Europe, they provide enormous financial support to their businesses. It’s unfair! Has it ever occurred to the “experts”, politicians, or the bureaucrats that spout this bullshit, that the only reason the government has the power or resources to insert themselves in to the situation in the first place, is that they, through force, robbed their citizens and businesses of those resources in the first place? Did it ever occur to them that a tax rate of zero, compared to taking 40% from all, giving back 20% to the privileged, and government keeping 20% for their troubles, might be much more efficient and might make a lot more sense? Yes, it probably has occurred to these people, but the joint financial rewards and incentives to government and their private sector partners is so enormous that stopping is, well, really hard. Pigs don’t know, Pigs stink! The best thing for the vast majority of citizens in Singapore, or any other country for that matter, would be to repeal all taxes on business income, eliminate all trade barriers and restrictions, and withdraw from the economy and the regulation and management of business completely. Letting the competitive marketplace supply consumers with the products they want at the lowest possible price will ensure the greatest advancements in industry and the highest level of prosperity for everyone.
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