Economic stability and the flaws in conservative economics

This will most likely be a brief one, but I want to explore a pretty simple issue: Economic stability.

Conservatives and libertarians are very keen on the idea of just letting the free market get on with things and government should just get out. So things like cuts to the CSIRO or NASA are seen as a good thing, opening up the market for private enterprise to innovate and replace these costly publicly funded areas, but this seldom really happens, and the reason is so simple it’s profound: market stability.

The free market is by it’s very nature an insecure, fluctuating thing. For business in the generic sense, this is just money moving back and forth between big companies with lots of money (which happens anyway) however, when it comes to genuine innovation and avant gard research, this is a highly uncertain area, high risk with potentially massive losses and poor returns, or longer investment time and expense than anticipated.

What research truly needs is stability- the antithesis of the free market. Look at some of the most economically revolutionary technologies: satellites, wifi, the Internet. Massive boon to economics, business and free enterprise. All of these fundamental aspects of modern life were developed through public funding- stable, long term funding on areas completely unrelated to their current applications.

The free market may be good at taking such technologies that exist and turning them into something more efficient and marketable, but the market is a dismal failure at producing these revolutions- it’s a risk averse enterprise.

Libertarians would like to point out that the industrial revolution, with it’s great inventors were not publicly funded in quite this manner, that’s true, however that was still more similar to public funding than business investment. It was the landed gentry, the wealthy patron class, the philanthropists funding these things long term, not looking for an immediate return, working on long term cycles.

The greatest threat to innovation is a lack of long term investment and the emphasis on marketability. If you can not explore possibilities that you don’t know the answer to without justifying it with a profitable outcome, how can you truly innovate? If you can only get 3 years funding and a demand for something you can sell at the end of it, how can you be truly exploratory?

Research and innovation requires long term stability in resourcing, this is not provided by the free market and so the free market is not good for innovation and new technology, only for improving existing technology.

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23 thoughts on “Economic stability and the flaws in conservative economics

  1. I advise you to research Milton Friedman. The free market is the only way to avoid corruption, laziness, and thievery. I just gave this advice to a socialist somewhere else. Milton Friedman was a genius economist who constantly wiped the floor with well known socialists, often embarrassing them (without trying to be rude, just by using logic and statistics) in debates. A lot of his videos are on YouTube. Everything you own is a result of the free market. Every major advancement in technology in the 20th and 21st centuries are a result of the free market. There is no better way. This IS the best system. Fluctuations are a good thing. Competition increases quality. With full fledged socialism (we aren’t quite there, but we are on our way) we’d be struggling to keep up the production of 1950s quality televisions. With the free market we have massive, affordable HD televisions as thing as a pencil.

    • Says the libertarian using the publicly funded Internet technology to someone using csiro publicly funded wifi, connected via nasa developed satellite technology.

      The dark ages I tell you!

      • Says somebody using his free market made phone/computer to access the internet (the things you listed are not publicly funded. The internet doesn’t exist because of taxes). CUSTOMERS pay internet service providers ( all free market businesses) to access the internet, and the internet consists of websites, the owners of which pay the internet service providers for their domain names and space. These are not publicly funded things, they’re free market at work.

      • No it doesn’t. It contradicts what you said to prove my point (and you wrong). I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that a socialist can’t continue an argument with a capitalist. Once you find out that you’re wrong, you only support your cause because you’re in denial. I encourage you to broaden your horizons. Life is more fun when you’re right.

      • So you think the free market can’t provide efficient solutions and develop existing technologies further?
        That’s what you’re saying I’m wrong about.

      • No, I wasn’t. But that’s the problem with libertarians. Too blinkered, no consideration of the nuances of a complex system.

      • And the problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other peoples money. You can’t have socialism without capitalism. Socialists are lazy children unwilling to work hard. They want to be spoon fed their whole lives. Libertarianism accepts reality, the reality that most people are unwilling to face. You are one of those people.

      • Libertarians live in a fantasy where the free market solves everything, that individuals are supreme, completely ignoring that humans are communal creatures and that the best way to facilitate freedom and strong free markets is a social structure that provides the mechanisms to give people opportunities even when they lack resources and not perpetuate the delusion that everyone is equal when resource distribution is not.
        That requires regulation.

        You have to address reality. Not the fantasy that self interest will always produce the best result, or that people are rational

      • Humans are indeed communal creatures! Agreed! We share an opinion! Capitalism doesn’t work with one person. You can make something from the ground up, but you’ll need help from others.

        Socialism, though, is far stranger. Socialists believe the government has magical powers that can solve every problem. That the rich are evil and deserve to have their money taken from them. That everybody is entitled to more than air, and basic human rights. That they DESERVE money no matter what, but hate the rich for wanting money just as bad, and doing something about it. They’re bitter people, who lack foresight and vision. Who don’t care about true freedom if it means they don’t have to do as much. It’s fundamentally corrupt, and morally unjust.

      • Sigh. There’s no getting through to a socialist who’s too far gone. I wish you the best of luck, but I don’t think I’ve got the ability to help you. I forfeit. I surrender. I’ve been defeated by madness

      • Immediately after you say that free market can make things more marketable/efficient, you contradict yourself, saying none of it is sustainable. A gun is a great way to shoot somebody, but if you don’t have one, it doesn’t matter how efficient guns are.

        If free market isn’t sustainable, it doesn’t matter what it can do. This is what you said. I would like to disagree

      • Nope. I said research and innovation requires long term, stable investment, something the free market does not apply due to high risk and poor returns, unless the technology has already been demonstrated to have an application, which the free market is good at then finding new and more efficient uses for. But finding it in the first place? Nope.

        Also the free market in it’s current form isn’t sustainable as it requires constant growth, something not realistic, but that is an entirely different argument, not covered in this post.

      • The “free market” in its current form isn’t free market. The principals of capitalism don’t allow for many of the things going on today. The government has become far too involved for it to be free.

      • Everything is the governments fault? No. I forgot to take something to the post office this morning. That was my fault. A few days ago I was trying to watch something on TV but the channel put the wrong name in the wrong time slot, that was AMC’s fault. The rules of capitalism aren’t being followed because of direct government interference. That’s the governments fault. I don’t believe in authoritarianism, sadly. It’d be a much easier life if I could believe everything the government told me. But I can’t. Because they tend to mess up.

      • And there we have the other aspect of libertarian insanity. Absolute terror of people who rely on you for their future, preferring to put people in control who have no accountability to anybody and whose only interest is their own profit.

        A billionaire doesn’t actually rely on your supporting their business to survive, all they have to do is cut jobs, but necessities and reduce your choices. They have the resources. Deregulated, government free capitalism is the true authoritarianism, a return to feudalism. Hardly the embodiment of freedom.

        As usual, libertarian demonstrating a lack of understanding of nuance and complexity. Everything in absolute binary. Absurdity at it’s height.

      • Ah, so a billionaire HAS to hire you because of your unfortunate situation? Nobody owes you anything. It’s insanity and greed (the bad kind, the kind where you begin to hurt others by enforcing your own views and desires on them) to think otherwise. There’s nothing absurd with self interest (positive greed). Altruism is a ridiculous concept that holds humanity back. Most “altruists” don’t even care about other people. It’s about wanting to seem morally superior, wanting to fit in, wanting to be “cool” and doing whatever one can to do so.

      • Who said anything about a billionaire having to hire people? Can you even comprehend my words?
        It was about accountability.
        You want to have people who have no accountability at all to control your life. The fact that it could be anybody as long as they have money gives you the delusion that that is true freedom.

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