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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/6989/socialism-exposed-by-natural-disaster/

Socialism Exposed by Natural Disaster

August 15, 2007 by

William Anderson today talks about America’s pockets of socialism and how they collapse when tested. Meanwhile, in the prison called North Korea, there is massive flooding and disaster in an unimaginable scale, as socialist structures are washed away in the tide of history. “The heavy rain destroyed at least 800 public buildings, over 540 bridges, 70 sections of railroads and at least 1,100 vehicles, pumps and electric motors,” said the official media of the state. Homes for more than 20,000 families are partly or completely destroyed, and this is what the government admits. Needless to say, there is no market for risk and insurance under socialism. A system that has no rational means for calculating the profits and losses associated with any resource allocation certainly can’t assess risk factors and price them accordingly – institutions and signals we take for granted under capitalism.

{ 15 comments }

TokyoTom August 15, 2007 at 9:48 am

Jeff, no threadjack intended, but intense weather events like this and the resulting damage that we see with increasing frequency are exactly what we expect with a warmer planet (greater evaporation and ability of the atmosphere to hold moisture to dump).

One of the problems pointed out by the Stern report and the chief reason that the defense establishment is interested in climate change is the risk for global and regional instability that results from the defects of market- and wealth-enabling infrastructure (property rights and rule of law) in many parts of the world that are vulnerable to climate change.

Conservative analysts like Indur Goklany (and the US Business Roundtable) say that instead of spending money on trying to avoid climate change, it is an urgent task to invest in reforming governance in these poor countries: http://www.fraserinstitute.ca/admin/books/files/AdaptiveManagementPost.pdf and http://64.203.97.43/pdf/20040616000ClosingtheTechnologyGap.pdf. Dr. Reisman has suggested that the people under these corrupt regimes all deserve what they get, but has also said that the developed economiwes should all allow open immigration as a countermeasure.

Are the VMI and blog readers interested in how climate change is likely to affect the most vulnerable societies, or in a deeper discussion of how to help them prepare? A coordinated effort would be needed, one that would be subject to the same prisoner’s dilemma issues that bedevil climate change mitigation discussions.

Regards,

Tom

Reactionary August 15, 2007 at 10:50 am

Tom,

Then insurers in a for-profit system will price the risk in accordance with the new realities.

Jeff, this is good:

“Needless to say, there is no market for risk and insurance under socialism. A system that has no rational means for calculating the profits and losses associated with any resource allocation certainly can’t assess risk factors and price them accordingly – institutions and signals we take for granted under capitalism.”

Russo May 16, 2010 at 6:11 pm

“Needless to say, there is no market for risk and insurance under socialism. A system that has no rational means for calculating the profits and losses associated with any resource allocation certainly can’t assess risk factors and price them accordingly – institutions and signals we take for granted under capitalism…..
I lived in USSR 29 years till 1990, and lived in North Korea for a month. Without going into very complex details and comparisons – the statement above is total absurd.

You beat me to it TokyoTom. August 15, 2007 at 11:15 am

You beat me to it TokyoTom. I was just going to point out that this disaster is not the product of the impoverished/failed/violent socialist system in North Korea but the product of GLOBAL WARMING!!!!

In fact the Earth was trying to point its flood at the evil capitalists in South Korea but missed!!!!

You see the Korean Peninsula has never had extreme fluctuations in temperatures from season to season. Nor has it had monsoon rains or earth quakes or floods or anything else prior to global warming.

AS IS EVERY OTHER NATURAL EVENT the product of GLOBAL WARMING!!!! Even volcanoes are the product of Global Warming as the Earth is getting made at the capitalist global warmers.

PS: I spent one summer in Korea where it is hot and humid. I also spent a mild monsoon season where it only rained several inches instead of feet. The pillars on the bridge outside our compound was graduated in feet and went from 4 inches to 9 feet and had 5 more feet to go to flood. But who am I to have been there when the Global Warming Know It Alls have pronounced a monsoon to be GLOBAL WARMING!!!!

You beat me to it TokyoTom. August 15, 2007 at 11:16 am

You beat me to it TokyoTom. I was just going to point out that this disaster is not the product of the impoverished/failed/violent socialist system in North Korea but the product of GLOBAL WARMING!!!!

In fact the Earth was trying to point its flood at the evil capitalists in South Korea but missed!!!!

You see the Korean Peninsula has never had extreme fluctuations in temperatures from season to season. Nor has it had monsoon rains or earth quakes or floods or anything else prior to global warming.

AS IS EVERY OTHER NATURAL EVENT the product of GLOBAL WARMING!!!! Even volcanoes are the product of Global Warming as the Earth is getting made at the capitalist global warmers.

PS: I spent one summer in Korea where it is hot and humid. I also spent a mild monsoon season where it only rained several inches instead of feet. The pillars on the bridge outside our compound was graduated in feet and went from 4 inches to 9 feet and had 5 more feet to go to flood. But who am I to have been there when the Global Warming Know It Alls have pronounced a monsoon to be GLOBAL WARMING!!!!

You beat me to it. August 15, 2007 at 11:17 am

You beat me to it TokyoTom. I was just going to point out that this disaster is not the product of the impoverished/failed/violent socialist system in North Korea but the product of GLOBAL WARMING!!!!

In fact the Earth was trying to point its flood at the evil capitalists in South Korea but missed!!!!

You see the Korean Peninsula has never had extreme fluctuations in temperatures from season to season. Nor has it had monsoon rains or earth quakes or floods or anything else prior to global warming.

AS IS EVERY OTHER NATURAL EVENT the product of GLOBAL WARMING!!!! Even volcanoes are the product of Global Warming as the Earth is getting made at the capitalist global warmers.

PS: I spent one summer in Korea where it is hot and humid. I also spent a mild monsoon season where it only rained several inches instead of feet. The pillars on the bridge outside our compound was graduated in feet and went from 4 inches to 9 feet and had 5 more feet to go to flood. But who am I to have been there when the Global Warming Know It Alls have pronounced a monsoon to be GLOBAL WARMING!!!!

Anthony August 15, 2007 at 6:39 pm

How, exactly, are volcanoes the product of global warming? Unless you mean increased volcanic activity, but that is another statement altogether.

While I usually agree with Dr Reisman, one thing to remember about people in poorer countries is that they are usually forced to live under collectivism – it is not their choice.

You beat me to it. August 15, 2007 at 9:08 pm

Anthony:
I am pointing out absurdity by being absurd.
Bill

TokyoTom August 15, 2007 at 9:19 pm

Reactionary: “Then insurers in a for-profit system will price the risk in accordance with the new realities.”

Please note that Jeff’s post and my comment are specifically directed towards countries whose market-based risk-sharing (and wealth-creating)mechanisms have been stifled by governments.

TokyoTom August 15, 2007 at 9:50 pm

“You beat me to it”/Bill: Thanks for posting your juvenilia not once but three times. But why the shouting, which only serves to draw attention to your failure to actually address substantively ANY of my four paragraphs?

What supposed “absurdity” are you flailing at?

- that scientists think that intense weather events like this and the resulting damage that we see with increasing frequency are exactly what we expect with a warmer planet? That we are actually seeing this played out, with record monsoonlike rain in England and NY, record floods where monsoons do occur and record heat and fires elsewhere?

- that the Stern report and the defense establishment have expressed concern that climate change poses risks for global and regional instability, especially in countries that lack the market- and wealth-enabling infrastructure (property rights and rule of law) needed to adapt to unavoidable climate change?

- that conservatives and business groups say we should not waste time on trying to forestall climate change, but should be spending on adapting to what is already upon us, and especially in helping to reform governance in poor countries? Or Dr. Reisman’s suggestion that the developed economiwes should all allow open immigration as a countermeasure?

- that it is absurd that the VMI or blog readers express and interest or concern in how climate change is likely to affect the most vulnerable societies, or in a deeper discussion of how to help them prepare?

Or is it simply that you don’t want to take any of these matters seriously because it would involve too much mental effort, and in the face of cognitive dissonance prefer a rather desperate mockery?

Yumi August 16, 2007 at 6:37 am

June, July and August is a monsoon season — it deluges and flooding is an annual event in certain parts of Korea. Therefore I am not convinced that global warming/acute climate change has brought this on. TokyoTom, what are your ideas on how to “help them prepare”?

Regards,
Yumi

You beat me to it. August 16, 2007 at 10:30 am

Global Warming does not cause volcanoes; nor does it cause earthquakes.

TokyoTom August 16, 2007 at 11:12 pm

Yumi, my point was not that this one event was definitely due to climate change, but that climate change pushes the weather in certain directions, including more monsoon-like events that are clearly on the rise.

The damage that these events produce and the resilience of societies to them are of course affected by other factors. Local deforestation often exacerbates flooding, as Jeff’s linked article notes (deforestation in the Himalayas is also a factor in the floods in Bangladesh). Jeff is also correct that the deficiencies in market- and wealth-enabling infrastructure (property rights and rule of law) greatly affects the resilience of North Korea in the face of such floods.

While we should of course also pay attention to the costs of climate change adaptation in our own societies, this leaves out any consideration of the much more vulnerable third world. What should we do about this? Do the peoples in those countries have any claims on us, in view of the fact that third world economies have made no significant contributions to the various anthropogenic forcing factors?

I would be interested in hearing your ideas, but my understanding of libertarian principles is that they would tell us that we should leave all of the third world to stew in its own messes, and that we should do nothing other than to help their kleptocrats transfer their wealth to our banks and to be ready to open our doors to the refugees. We should certainly not be spending tax dollars to allow “defense analysts” and our state department to study the potential problem, much less to invest with other wealthy nations in misguided efforts to cooperate in bringing the rule of law to those suffering peoples.

Let’s just think good thoughts, and leave it at that.

Yumi August 17, 2007 at 7:56 am

Dear TokyoTom,

We can either do something about this right now (which suggests to me, intervention) or let things happen. As you guessed (“…we should do nothing…”), I’d pick the latter.

This does not mean cruelty or neglect, wishing hardship to continue in certain parts of the world. On the contrary, the sooner people realise that voluntary trade and capital accumulation can get them out of dire situations, the better. If we look at places in Europe and Asia that were so poor 50 years ago, the gradual transformation has been remarkable and as you say, deficiencies which affect resilience will diminish.

Thank you for your comment but I still cannot work out what you have in mind exactly in regards to helping these folks prepare – by displacing dictators/presidents/prime ministers in these countries? By directly improving their infrastructures (i.e. going to these places and building stable structures)? By sending them aids and ‘task forces’?

TokyoTom May 8, 2008 at 6:38 am

Yumi, belated apologies for missing your question.

However, it seems that you in turn missed my initial post, which had references to what analysts like Indur Goklany (and the US Business Roundtable): http://www.fraserinstitute.ca/admin/books/files/AdaptiveManagementPost.pdf and http://64.203.97.43/pdf/20040616000ClosingtheTechnologyGap.pdf.

Here are a two more recent pieces by Goklany that specifically address the need for institutional infrastructure in developing countries, and suggestions for how the West can help:

http://members.cox.net/igoklany/Goklany-IAM2007.pdf
http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=9125

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