Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Keystone Kops Lose Malaysia Flight 370

As of this writing, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has been missing for more than a week. It’s like Lost in real life. The circus surrounding the search would be hilarious if 239 lives weren’t at stake. The government agents in control can’t even say if the jet crashed or landed safely, let alone where. From the perspective of the private sector that most of us live in, this fiasco appears astonishingly incompetent. Unfortunately, it’s not incompetence. This fiasco illustrates the inherent irrationality of socialism which creates such outrageous, systemic failures.
The airline industry all around the world is socialist. Some governments, like the US, allow nominally private ownership of airlines, but those airlines are controlled through overwhelming regulation, and therefore effectively owned by the government. Airports, air traffic control, security and whatnot are outright owned by the government. Because of this, the airline industry is primitive and dysfunctional. The loss of Flight 370 highlights how primitive and dysfunctional it is.
The inherent problem with socialism is government agents, because they don’t sell a product, cannot perform economic calculation. They have no prices, profits or losses to guide their decisions. Therefore they have no way to rationally value goods or services. For example, National Security Agency agents can locate your cell phone, and therefore you, with a few keystrokes, but the government can’t locate a multi-million dollar airliner with 239 people on board. That’s because, since government agents can’t rationally assign values to goods, they use self-serving political motives to direct their resources. Politically, our rulers value tracking the people because they loot the people like milk cows, and the people have the power to resist their looting and withdraw consent like in Egypt, Ukraine and many other countries recently. Since airlines, like all giant corporations, are created by the government and either implicitly or explicitly owned by the government, they pose no danger to our rulers. Therefore airliners need not be tracked in real time.
The Guardian highlights this absurdity, “The ongoing mystery of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is the fault of a bizarre quirk in our networked society. Even cars have broadband connectivity now, but the modern jet airliner – perhaps our most technologically evolved mode of transport – still exists in the age of radio.” Primitive.
Author Charles Hugh Smith considers the perverse motives behind confusing and contradictory statements by the Malaysian government, “What is the agenda driving their evasion? What is known is that Malaysian security is obviously lax. This fact has caused Malaysian authorities to lose face, i.e. be humiliated on the global stage. Malaysia is an Asian nation, and maintaining face in Asia is of critical importance. We can conclude that one reason the Malaysian authorities are dissembling is to hide their gross incompetence.
“It is also suspected that Malaysia is a safe haven for potentially dangerous Islamic groups. (Follow the threads from Pakistan's secret nuclear proliferation program to Malaysia for documentation of this possibility.) The Malaysian government may have an informal quid pro quo along these lines: you are welcome to set up shop as long as you don't cause any trouble here or do anything to cause Malaysia to lose face.”
In Socialist World, finding the plane and the people on board is way down the list of priorities, so taxpayers’ money is squandered on worthless searches. Smith identifies similar priority conflicts for the US government, “The Strait of Malacca [between western Malaysia and Indonesia] is a key shipping lanes chokepoint, and is thus of strategic interest to the U.S. and other nations with space-based assets. U.S. authorities have already revealed that U.S. coverage of the area is ‘thorough.’
“This confirms that U.S. communications monitoring and space-based assets cover the seas around the Strait of Malacca. Given what is known about these monitoring and space-based assets, it is likely that the U.S. intelligence agencies have additional data but are not revealing them, as this would provide direct evidence of U.S. capabilities.” Dysfunctional.
It’s not incompetence. Lacking economic calculation, socialists can’t value the lost people and plane as highly as people in the private sector do, so they behave irrationally. Additionally, these socialists have nothing at risk. Whether they find the plane or not, and no matter how long it takes, they still get paid. Lacking economic incentive, they’re driven by political motivations.
Imagine if we had a free market in air travel. Airliners full of people are the most valuable asset owned by airlines, so keeping them safe would be top priority. A fiasco like this could mean bankruptcy, therefore airlines would employ modern technology in unpredictably innovative ways to track airliners and their status in real time. Somebody would have been notified the minute Flight 370 veered off course. The airline would have contacted the plane or sent chase planes after it. Its location and status, even if it crashed, would be known at all times. Rescue resources would be optimized to save lives. Air travel would be safer, cheaper and pleasant. That’s how it should be.

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