Ibthaj Khilji

Medical Student,

This conversation is closed.

What is the next big essential service governments in the future will provide for their citizens?

The concept of free education was revolutionary, and eventually became an essential service provided to every citizen at a fairly low to zero cost. After free education in my perspective the next service to become fairly low or even zero cost has been Health care. Canada, Europe have Australia have some form of Universal Healthcare system. Within the next century I hope to see most if not all countries providing some form of universal healthcare system.

Having said that, what is next? Education, Health care...could it be Food? There are already many government programs subsiding certain types of foods in certain countries. Free food in my opinion is the next big revolutionary idea. Providing free food in a sense can lead to a better control on diet based diseases.

Another essential service that comes to my mind is housing. Again there are subsidised housing projects for the less fortunate etc. But, a large scale project providing free housing funded by governmental systems could eliminate things like poverty, homelessness etc.

Things like these will raise taxes beyond an imaginable percent but, I believe it could provide a better society. It will also re distribute the wealth and decrease the ever increasing gap between the rich and the poor.

  • Mar 15 2011: Lordy, lordy, as if we don't have enough cradle-to-grave socialism already, you want to see even more? Why should government "provide" anything? What is wrong with getting out there and providing it for ourselves? Why do you keep using the word "free" when the things you talk about are not now nor ever will be free, but paid for out of yours and my pockets. Why do you feel that redistributing wealth is a good thing? Are you Robin Hood? You like the idea of universal healthcare; what do you propose to do about the insane increases in cost that we are facing, now running at almost half of provincial budgets and going up by more than 5% a year? With healthcare strangling every government in the free world, where will the money come from for the additional "free" things you'd like to see? "Raise taxes beyond an imaginable percent"? Ha! -- that ranks as the understatement of the year.

    I don't care how much governments spend handling unbelievable crises like the one now in Japan, and I will happily pay my fair share of whatever it costs, but when it comes to "free" food for the masses or other similar harebrained schemes, please keep your hands out of my pockets!
    • Mar 16 2011: Bravo Revett. Some of the spoiled brat mentalities on Ted are breathtaking in their juvenile approach to life. One gets the idea that these pie -in -the -sky types have never paid any taxes or had any of their hard-earned wealth confiscated so some leftist utopian can trow it down a rat's hole. When they eventually grow up and start handing over more of their incomes their attitude will change in a heartbeat.
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        Mar 16 2011: Ah, Libertarians. Have you no sense of greater community? You only have your hard-earned money because you were born into a society that allowed you to make that. You use roads and public transport systems that were funded by taxpayers who understood the importance of such a project.

        I don't pretend to live in a fantasy land where politicians don't steal taxpayers money and squabble and spend inefficiently.
        Nor do I pretend to live in a fantasy land where a political society can fully function when successful citizens claim the money they make is the result of their effort alone, and give nothing back to the society that shaped them as human beings.
        How unequivocally irresponsible and selfish.
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          Mar 16 2011: just go ahead, and accuse your fellow men of being antisocial because they imagine a society differently than you. i guess it is social.

          but in fact, state is not the society, society is not the state. state is an organization.

          thinking that the state is working for you is close to delusional. even if it aimed to, the success is questionable. the only question is whether we want to make it better, or give up and try something else.
        • Mar 17 2011: Who are you to accuse us "libertarians" of being irresponsible and selfish? You have no idea whether that is the case or not, you are just jumping to conclusions based on your blind anti-corporate, anti-wealth ideology. I can't speak for Donald or Krisztian, but I can speak for myself -- I do, indeed, have what you call a sense of community. I don't deny that a lot of my good fortune has been the result of just that: good fortune. But unlike you I don't try to foist my personal philosophy off on others. Reasonable taxation is the price we pay to live in an organized society. But money extracted from citizens should be treated with incredible respect, not squandered on social engineering experiments that lead inevitably to waste, dependency and sloth. In another part of this discussion you refer to WalMart as an oligopoly. Where on earth do you get that from? WalMart competes on a free and open playing field. Nobody holds a gun to your head and commands you to shop there. If you prefer to shop at your local corner store, go for it. But don't vilify WalMart just because Sam Walton was a visionary entrepreneur who found a better way to compete. That's how I made my money, and I don't particularly want it being taxed away so that you and your socialist buddies can figure out another way to provide something "free" to those who are less fortunate and/or dumber and/or lazier than those of us who work hard and manage to do well. And before you jump on me for being a bloated fat cat, with my company I created 250 well-paid, tax-paying jobs. Have you done that?
      • Mar 16 2011: Actually, I don't mind the young people being unrealistically idealistic. Weren't we all at one time? What scares me is older people who still subscribe to unworkable platforms. To mis-quote Winston Churchill: Anybody under 30 who isn't socialist has no heart; anybody over 40 who is a socialist has no brain.
        • Mar 17 2011: I agree. As long as the unrealistic idealism doesn't take the mutated form,incipient or otherwise, of goose -stepping fresh-faced totalitarians ,as it did in Churchhill's day.
          I wonder,was it youthful philosophical indiscretions that led to to the gulags and concentration camps, or was it a bunch of smart old guys that did all the heavy lifting?
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        Mar 16 2011: How about free...money? Money is the right to make a claim upon society's scarce social resources for your own health/wellbeing. The marginal value of a dollar for a poor person is much, much higher than that for an extremely wealthy person. Everyone has a few needs that must be met before they can function effectively. Not allocating resources to those needs is inefficient, which is why income inequality is such a big deal.

        No one is talking about taking your money, Revett, unless you're an uber-millionaire. When people talk about tax rates, we're talking about the top marginal tax rate. We're saying that the marginal utility of a dollar beyond some point is so low, that you don't need that money, and you don't have a right to deprive another person of making a legitimate claim upon the allocation of scarce resources.

        So, is your income over 2 million dollars per year? There is no reason for CEO's and bankers to make as much as they do. The founding fathers in the US mistrusted concentration of power, so they created a separation of powers, yet there is no corresponding check upon the wealth oligarchy in this country. As a result, we haven't prosecuted the financial criminals who've destroyed millions of lives.

        The wealthy benefit enormously from living in our society. They benefit from our laws, our infrastructure, our educated workforce, our technology. Many benefit from years of publicly funded basic research, and then take it private just before it becomes profitable. But then they refuse to acknowledge the contribution - they did it all on their own! Meanwhile they use an Internet the government invented, they've been vaccinated by people they don't know and have never met, etc.

        The creation of digital money at a particular rate for the poor, and the compensatory destruction of unneeded money of the uber-wealthy, solves the problem of the "leftist utopian rat hole," because the claims are redistributed evenly for everyone. Yes, I am Robin Hood.
        • Mar 17 2011: Okay Bill you won the Lenin/Stalin award for living in an alternate universe- al least for the next few days.It may come as a shocking surprise to you but this country was not founded upon the redistribution of income, nor upon any nebulous "claim" to your fellow citizen's hard- earned money. It was founded upon freedom. And I understand that Freedom is a concept that social engineers reserve for themselves exclusively, and their fellow collectivist; passe intellectuals who have cast the post-industrial world in this straight-jacket of a zero- sum game of their own and Karl Marx's making.What the hell does "you don't have a right to deprive another person of making a claim upon the allocation of resources" mean? What? are they still teaching that anachronistic drivel at Berkeley these days?In this country wealth has never originated in government coffers and then consequently doled out according to whatever socialist manifesto at any given time decrees are the winners and losers. Furthermore,market forces determine the value of a dollar, not the flotsam and jetsam of whatever happens to be swimming about in Robin Hood's leotards on a given day. Moreover, it is absolutely beyond disingenuous to somehow, through some bizaare quirk of class-warfare thinking, to assume, for one second, that society at large, in the meager person of Bill or Revett or Don is somehow responsible,collectively , for someone else's success,and therefore is allowed a claim,ipso facto, upon their private property.(Why do I want to shout "get a job")Perhaps you ought to float this useless fantasy of digital money for the TED audience. Frame it as a question that might go something like this:" Should success be punished by confiscating meaningless capital to redistribute as meaningless money presided over by washed-up baby boomer 60s leftists"
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          Mar 17 2011: Mr. Donald, you see there are some games which you can play, and in them you have to earn money and spend it wisely on the things you need, and then some use cheat codes and do whatever they want. Is using cheat codes not cheating, there is no success in it? Then why is it that some people have billions of dollars? And its not a billions of dollars they printed, its the billions of dollars that could have been in your pockets. Are CEO's doing their jobs 300 times better because they are making that much more money. While 37 million people are living in poverty in the United States. We all have to grow up and learn to share. If we didn't redistribute the current wealth, another 61 million people would be living in poverty. Tax cuts are being made to the wealthy, there was a time where people with billions of dollars paid taxes of up to 70% now these taxes are less than 40%...if their taxes dropped by half...why didn't yours? unless you are making more than 3 million dollars a year...you are on the wrong side.
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          Mar 17 2011: this is a very dangerous way of thinking. last time i saw a tv show with gordon ramsey trying to put a restaurant on its feet. the guy who ran the restaurant was trashing the place, and the owner, who financed the whole show, was angry when it came out. the guy responsible for throwing the owner's money into the toilet, basically ripping them off, argued that the owner is so rich, has a boat and multiple cars and travel a lot, so it is OK to get some of that. the guy had another guy's richness as an excuse for stealing from him.

          even if a CEO earns usd 5 million, it is HIS money to do whatever he wants. and if he consumes ALL of it, then he is a jerk, but it is still okay, as it is his, and already worked for it! he created much more wealth to the society by delivering cheaper and better products for the masses. that was the ethical reasoning.

          there is a practical reasoning too. people tend not to consume usd 5 million a year. a part of this money would end up being invested to business. if you take it away, and give to someone, you put money from pocket of a successful man to a less successful, probably wasting it.

          and there is a theoretical problem with your argument too. you compare the marginal utility of a dollar for a rich and for a poor. but it is impossible. you can't compare internal valuations between different people. one person wants a new pair of shoes, the other wants to start a new business he has in mind for a time. which dollar is more important for the these people? how do you know that the poor guy wants the shoes more than the rich guy wants the new business? how do you know which will create more satisfaction?
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        Mar 17 2011: Donald, does Freedom mean that Wall Street bankers should regulate themselves?

        Is all money rightfully earned by contributing value to society?

        Do markets fail, ever?

        What do you make of the fact that millions of tons of food go to waste in the US every year, yet there are millions of people who go hungry?

        Is wanting to allocate social resources (such as food) from where they are not needed to where they are most needed zero-sum thinking or positive-sum thinking?

        Does changing the quantity of money change the value of money in ways that can be influenced by the Federal Reserve, or is the value entirely up to "market forces"?

        Is the creation of digital money at the same rate by everyone less acceptable than the creation of digital money for banking cartels, where it is then lent back to the public at interest?

        Is the Pareto optimal economic outcome always the best economic outcome?

        Should slavery still be allowed? Or do human rights trump property rights occasionally?

        Why did the founding fathers insist upon checks and balances with a separation of powers in this country? What is the check upon the power of wealth? Should bankers be Free to do whatever they like?

        Is it possible that we live, not in a democracy, but in an oligarchy, such that corporations, the financial industry, and bankers receive welfare from the government in the form of taxpayer dollars?


        Suppose that we are in a liquidity trap, such that wealthy people value holding onto cash more than they value investing it. What should be done to stimulate job growth? Should we give more money to people who don't need it?

        Do we want people in the US who care more about money than they do about our country?

        Isn't the decentralization of money creation a libertarian idea?
        • Mar 27 2011: I'm not sure I fully understand how the decentralization of money creation would work. I spent a fair enough time in Macroeconomics courses to understand how the Federal reserve generates invisible money. However, wouldn't going to the gold standard (which I have heard is a goal of some libertarian party members) destroy our economy? The price of gold can fluctuate immensely in a short period of time. I can't imagine trying to trade with someone and then all-of-the-sudden your $20,000 mainframe costs $25,000 because the value of gold changed. Of course, this might not be how it works at all; simplistically, that is how I imagine it would work.
    • Mar 16 2011: "With healthcare strangling every government in the free world"

      Well, that simply isn't true. Take Sweden for example, we're doing great even in these hard times and we do have universal healthcare.

      Besides, he isn't talking about any country in particular so I don't know why you're so up in arms about it. There are definitely a lot of people that do think that redistribution is a good thing, and I certainly believe that the world would be a better place of there are more choices of countries to live in that only capitalist states with a small government.
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      Mar 17 2011: The biggest reason that healthcare cost is going up is because it's run as a for profit business. Humana, Aetna, United Healthcare, etc. all have to answer to shareholders quarterly. If the profit motive were eliminated, healthcare wouldn't cost nearly as much. We have "socialized" law enforcement and fire departments and no one seems to be pushing to privatize them because they WORK. We might as well have socialized healthcare because the way it is now, those who have insurance pay for those who don't. Our emergency rooms are overrun with poor parents bringing their kids in with runny noses that should be treated at lower cost clinics. If someone who is uninsured comes in with a broken leg, it has to be fixed. If they don't pay their bill, it just rolls into the cost of running the hospital and rates go up for those who have insurance. Have you heard of any hospitals going out of business? Me neither!
      • Mar 17 2011: I am sorry, Paula, but that is flat out wrong. Here in Canada our publicly operated healthcare system consumes more money every year, growing far faster than the rate of inflation or the increase in population. The same is true in France, Germany, Britain, and, yes Rasmus, Sweden. The reason US healthcare is so expensive is partly because of your litigous society that means every doctor has to do unnecessary tests for everything just to cover his butt in case he gets sued, and it means people like surgeons have to buy insurance for, quite literally, thousands of dollar a month in premiums. Medicare and Medicaid are obscenely expensive, and there is little evidence that they run particularly efficiently. Like Humana, Aetna, etc., Safeway also answers to its shareholders, but it still manages to deliver a huge selection of fresh food to you at highly competitive prices. WalMart has to answer to its shareholders but it still offers you an enormous selection of goods at rock bottom prices. The same logic applies to Dell, Apple, your local flower shop, and your dog's vet, but for some reason you say that running something for profit is the reason healthcare costs are going up. Where is the logic in that?
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          Mar 17 2011: It's interesting you should list oligopoly style firms as vindication of the free market- the very business that make competition impossible. Wal-mart is the worst, as apart from killing off competition as everyone knows; it also drains money from the economy. The razor company Gillette for example, took pride in manufacturing 'at home' (in the USA) and employing only Americans. Wal-mart refused to market Gillette unless they lowered their prices, which they were forced to achieve by outsourcing.

          Apple, after failing to successfully sue a smaller mp3 manufacturer they accused of market mimicking, took matters into their own hands by threatening to remove their products from any stores that continued to sell products of their rival.

          As problematic as our healthcare is, any attempt to replace it with a private, more market-based system would spark outrage as it has Britons terrified with their Conservative coalition. With public tax-payed healthcare comes a national agreement that access to healthcare should not depend on your ability to pay.
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      Mar 17 2011: A primary problem with this topic is that it is very easy to measure the cost of taxes and very hard to measure the benefit of tax money well-spent. Most people who are strongly polarized against any government spending, the kind that call it all socialism, fail to recognize how much their hard-earned success has depended on thoughtful government spending and the foresight of those who preceded them. For instance, one may have made a lot of money in the computer industry and be under the delusion that they did it all by themselves. But how far would they be without the publicly funded research of DARPA and the NSF? If they were transported back to the 70s with their libertarian ideals, would they have supported that spending?

      Naturally emphasis should be on wise spending, not just spending, but pushing people to choose one radically polarized position or the other, ignores the fact that government is a tool, which can and has been used to effectively. The market is also a tool, which can be used effectively, but is not magic and doesn't work for everything. Both sides make valid points: government programs are not free, and very few if anyone can attribute their success solely to their own hard work. What this argument desperately needs is for serious people with moderate views to stand up and bring a little sanity to the table.
  • Mar 17 2011: I guess free public transport would be viable. It would reduce pollution, traffic jams would be less frequent, lesser need to invest to new parking lots and diminish green areas. So towns would have incentive for such a trade-off.

    Of course, free food comes to mind. It is a basic human need and so it should be transformed into a right. Everybody would be entitled to basic nutrient-rich food portion per day. And it would be doable because of huge food surpluses.
    • Mar 17 2011: Marek, I wish you would stop erroneously referring to so many things as "free". A much better adjective would be "taxpayer subsidized". Taxpayer-subsidized public transport may or may not be a good idea -- we can legitimately debate that -- but transport sure isn't free. Taxpayer-subsidized food may or may not be a good idea -- I think it is dumb, but again we could debate it -- but food is not nor ever will be free. Air is free. Opinions are free. Happiness is free. The rest has to be paid for, and when you say it should be free, you really mean that money extracted from taxpayers should be used to pay for it. And what that normally means is "You drive a Mercedes and I don't, so you should pay for my lunch."
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        Mar 26 2011: Revett, I know your critique is days old, but I'm bored, and would like to respond to it anyway.
        To begin, an oligopoly is a market which is dominated by a few sellers who control a disproportionately high percentage of sales, and may then influence prices. There is no way Apple and WalMart cannot be considered oligopolies in their respective markets, that's a point I've made already.
        No-one can say WalMart competes on a 'free and open playing field' and keep a straight face.
        Second, I agree it is wholly misleading to refer to these services as free, and I am equally disgusted by politicians' shameless abuse of taxpayers money; of those citizens trapped on welfare who until recently in Britain would LOSE money by getting a job and earning a living... but rejecting government and taxes is not the answer.
        The more Canadian politicians feel like they're not being watched by us citizens, the more sloppy they get. The more of us actually pay attention and vote accordingly, the more carefully they will tread. In the MP expenses scandal in London, there was a direct correlation with how much an MP miss-spent, and how 'safe' their seat was.
        You also refer to my "blind anti-corporate, anti-wealth ideology" and later to "[me] and [my] socialist buddies". Was it my generalisation that seemingly offended you? If so than I apologise, libertarians are individuals with varying degrees of pro-market anti-tax thought.
        At the end of your comment you reject 'free' services for the 'less fortunate'. Does that mean you think they are less deserving? You acknowledge they may not necessarily be 'dumber' or 'lazier', which is interesting.
        Finally, to answer your first question literally, I am a nineteen-year-old student of economics, history, political science, and moral philosophy. My opinions are not based on ideology, but on what I have observed and experienced. If your opinions are based entirely on what you have observed and experienced, I can object to your opinions alone.
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          Mar 26 2011: oligopoly or even monopoly is not contradictory to free markets. yes i know they teach that in schools, but if you think, you will see for yourself how stupid that is. free market does not mean there actually is a competitor. it means anyone can enter the market if he can do it better. if noone can do it better, it means the single provider is good enough for the market. free market monopoly does not grant you anything. you can't rise prices, because it would provide opportunity for potential competitors. you can't stop innovation either, for the same reason. neither reasoning, nor historical data supports that harmful monopoly or oligopoly can emerge on a free market. the only harmful monopolies are those created by the state or criminal organizations.

          putting quotation marks around free won't give you an out of jail card. the point was that these are NOT free. it is nice to give to the needy. but it is NOT nice to take from me, and give that to the needy. if you are such a nice individual, give yourself, and let me decide if i want to give, and if so, in what way.

          so you are 19, and a student. then i have some homework for you, in line with your studies:

          ludwig von mises: human action
          ludwig von mises: theory and history

          maybe if you study it, you will understand that free market believers are not antisocial. plus a bonus about the monopoly issue:

          dominick t armentano: antitrust: the case for repeal

          maybe you can start with this. it is lighter.
  • Mar 15 2011: Health infrastructure: 1) physical activity infrastructure and incentives to build up this key resource to driving health outcomes -- take a roads bill approach maybe (national recess would also be useful); and 2) healthy food access programs in line with access to medicine programs.
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      Mar 15 2011: I like your idea, the fact of the matter is (as i see it) we are unable to cut health problems at their core. I think more focus needs to be at the health infrastructure level, and less at the top with pills and medicine. Prevention is always by far, better than treatment!
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      Mar 15 2011: I really like the non-partisan election system, everyone has a different ideology with many similarities to others and many differences. So I support that idea, its a good way forward. As for a consensus government, I find that applicable to smaller populations, in a country with millions of people it seams to long of a process. The thing with government is, there has to be a balance between a solution to a problem agreed upon by the majority of the people and how fast this decision can be made. I feel as if in democratic governments many things don't get done fast enough because of all the opposition and compromise that needs to be made. I fear it will be worse with consensus governments.
  • Mar 27 2011: It would be great to have FREE healthcare, food, housing, a car, gas allowance, etc..., but the problem this presents to society at large is that this kind of FREEDOM eventually results in too many people "taking," and not enough people providing. Once society feels comfortable that everything should be provided for FREE, there is no longer any reason to work hard to provide for one's self. Eventually society will not have enough people working to provide for those that feel entitled to societies largess. This seems so simple to me.........why do people insist on more from society, and less from themselves. What have we become?
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    Mar 26 2011: Capitalism is impossibly skewed to favour novelty and frivolity over wisdom; unchecked, it is designed to fail. More is reaped than the labour put in (forget about giving back), and labour is grossly undervalued. Yes, some will remain wealthy and "happy" with all the meaningless stuff they amassed for posterity and to be perceived as larger than what their bodily frames allow. But the system is utterly unsustainable, built on the idea of continuous surplus of finite materials. THERE is your fantasy. But it doesn't matter, because the 70+ years you live on this planet are far more important than all the other lives being led, that have been, and will be. Because when you die, your name will live on forever, right?

    What is it that you're working so hard to safeguard? Calling it freedom is a joke. Maybe our feelings of self-entitlement and self-absorption are natural, but then how civilized or enlightened have we really become? Humility is an improvement on the human condition, and something we desperately need if we are going to address the future thoughtfully and realistically.

    Full disclosure: I am working class-born, raised on welfare, paid my way through university, and am a tax-paying home owner. I have a job. I believe in being critical of all levels of organization, right down to the organization of my own thoughts. I don't believe good fortune brought me to the time and place I was born and which allowed me to survive and strive for more, while my mother struggled; history and human choice are responsible for my presence here. While some allow fate or fortune to explain their prosperity, I will never let a mythical force, or a conception of historical events as natural or linear, take the place of my own will and accountability in this world.
    • Mar 26 2011: Capitalism is a system that allows each person the freedom to do or make what he or she wishes, and to sell the product of that work to another who freely wishes to buy it. How is that "impossibly skewed to favour novelty and frivolity over wisdom"? How can labour be grossly undervalued when it is, by definition, valued at whatever others are prepared to pay for it?
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        Mar 27 2011: That's a pleasantly simple definition for a complex system that is responsible for hundreds of years of uneven development between nations and cultures. The system of values is biased and tied to dominant powers; it is not a fair representation of universal value. Every reality resists a static definition, especially one as simple as that. In their infancy, libertarian ideals were just as misleading as they are now. How could one theorize about the rights of man and the free market system while millions of Africans comprised a stolen labour force for several imperial powers? I participate in the system, since it envelopes the world (what are my alternatives? if I am a citizen, I am enmeshed in it), but it doesn't mean I cannot see it for the reality that it is.

        Another disclosure: I don't consider the earth to be our personal playgrounds and Walmarts, so when I talk about the disparity between labour put in and wealth reaped, I refer to human arrogance about resources. It's all in the language: we DEMAND, which assumes we are entitled to everything we desire. Many people in this world will never have their demands met because of where economic history has left them.
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          Mar 27 2011: what's wrong with uneven development? what are the "universal values"? these values happen to coincide with your values? how many realities we have? why can't we argue for free market if there are enemies of the free market, namely imperial powers? do animals consider earth as their playground? what is the value of labor? every labor worth the same? how would you measure it?
        • Mar 27 2011: I kinda like "pleasantly simple definitions" when the system being described is, in fact, pleasantly simple. One way to think of capitalism is to consider the alternatives. You would apparently be happier with a 'fairer' system that relied on some kind of central control. In other words, you want to be the one to make the decisions that affect me. Sorry, but I think a system that gives everybody the freedom to decide who they want to trade with and with what is infinitely preferable. Conflating something like slavery into the discussion is intellectual dishonesty -- do you really think true capitalists endorse slavery?
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    Mar 17 2011: There are people in the world, who can spend a million dollars everyday for the rest of their lives, and still have enough to feed their next 10 generations. Have these people actually earned this money? Unless they have some ability to turn anything into Gold, I can't see how they have rightfully earned this money. And then there are people who can't even afford to spend on simple things such as health care , food, education etc, and this gap is so immense. I don't believe there should be anyone with 74 billion dollars, I find it crazy. The health care is struggling because the money is not being redistributed. Revolutions in the world are taking place...in middle east and africa, not because of democracy..but because the poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer...and it has come to a point where the poor are fed up for being robbed in a sense.
    • Mar 17 2011: I can only agree.
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      Mar 18 2011: It depends on which billionaires you are talking about. Are we talking about a tyrant who literally holds the wealth of the country for himself, or are we talking about a Bill Gates who put out a product that people willfully bought and plans to donate his fortune to charity? ...Or are we just tossing out baseless assumptions of what the rich have actually earned?

      I am all for the people revolting against governments that hoard the wealth, but that is a far cry from asking the government to provide free food for the masses.
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    Mar 15 2011: The next service might be as simple as potable water given the crisis that is looming.
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      Mar 15 2011: that is going to be a big one! Thank God I'm a Canadian, I don't think I have to worry too much about fresh water supplies. But I'm sure when humans come to a point where we are faced with a need to survive, we always discover a way just in time. I am pretty sure we can figure out some way to extract fresh water out of sea water.
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    Mar 21 2011: Let me see . . . .how can anyone survive without a cell phone? How about free cell phones for everyone!
  • Mar 16 2011: There is no free lunch.

    I don’t think you can separate the political system from the economic system. Everybody pays for everything, somehow. Via taxes or trading labor or investment, etc. The question is which ‘ism provides the most bang for the buck. I think that depends on the circumstances and nature of the population at the time and place being considered.

    Communism has been called the perfect system. You will find it works wherever you have perfect people; monasteries, convents, some communes, etc. How many places have perfect people? Capitalism is not without its faults either.

    In short, which essential service should be the provided next, assuming there should be an essential service provided next, depends on the situation and needs of the population in question.
  • Mar 16 2011: Governments should soon allow citizens the opportunity to move away from fossil fuels through a tax which keeps oil prices stable for the consumer; I believe that eliminating the gas-pump gamble by setting a standardizing barrel tax is the only way to induce migration to other less harmful energies. Once people can be sure of the price for gasoline, heating oil, ect. They will be more inclined to identify sustainable energies as a plausible solution and in turn incorporate them into the social norm.
  • Mar 16 2011: In my idealistic view, I wish for the government to have transparency. It could be at a price if they wanted, within reason, but I wish to be able to know what type of things my government is doing.

    We have advanced past the age of the cold war, and international espionage or war does not make economic sense. The only true threat to countries now comes from minority groups that we either know about but are unable to contain, or don't know about.

    As a new group of technologically savvy voters steps into our country, we will be learning about scandals about as fast as they pop up, so there is little sense in trying to hide it.

    A transparent government will at first shock, but will require people to take action and be responsible for their choices. This in turn will lead to (in my progressive idealistic mind) a nation that has understanding and ability to change the nation how they see fit, whilst encouraging involvement in the government itself.

    Thank you for your time.
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    Mar 16 2011: I think an essential service that should not depend upon social circumstance would be internet connectivity, cellular internet. Perhaps not so realistic in our Canadian homeland, but government provided internet could have huge social benefits and economic benefits for business considering how far our reliance on the cloud has become.

    If you do not think public internet is possible, know that it is already a reality in Finland.
  • Mar 16 2011: What I meant is that the not so near future will consist of a degenerate species of human beings who have no such desire for wealth or power moreover survival will be all one would be concerned with.
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    Mar 15 2011: education was taken over by government. today, ken robinsons and sugata mitras have to give ted talks to ring the bells: education system is failing. the government fails at everything.

    so my proposal: put crime in government's hands. let then fail that! let theft and bank robbery a government business! they will fail, and it will be good for all of us.
  • Mar 15 2011: SHOULD in city environment access to the sun. probably doubtful.
    WILL network monitoring.
    I WANT flying cars.
  • Mar 15 2011: I think in the future governments will be dismantled as the people become more aware of how unworthy, humans are of possessing so much power.
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      Mar 15 2011: as long as humans exist on this planet, greed and this almost natural need to gain more power will always exist. Truthfully I think this has in the end made us the dominant species on this planet.
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      Mar 15 2011: Hi Gavin, I love the Jeffersonian quote that goes something like: Let's hear no more about the nobility of man but chain him with the chains of the constitution.While I do think that mankind is capable of great nobility at times and in season, I agree that power is a heady and often perverting force.