We live in a changing world, where circumstances evolve and require a reaction. There are two ways to react to such circumstances. There is the individualistic way, whereby someone perceives a problem and acts in order to achieve a solution this individual has conceived. Then there is the communistic way, whereby one perceives a problem and proceeds to convince a group to implement a solution. Democracy is the latter kind. The free market is the former kind. Democracy fails because the process of convincing the group consumes so many resources that it is usually not worth engaging in at all. That is if it is even possible to convince the group that the proposal is in fact a solution to the problem, which often requires expert knowledge that only a tiny minority of individuals possess. Since we live in a world of changing circumstances, by the time the group has been convinced to implement the solution, the problem will have taken a completely different nature and the solution will fail. Someone else will have to undertake the task of convincing the group to act once more, and the result will once more be too late.
That is why democratic systems are always in crisis mode and why corruption is endemic in democratic bureaucracies. In any structure there are people who will find a flaw that is exploitable. There are no perfect systems. In a system governed by an individual this individual can react immediately to close the flaw and adapt the system to the new situation. In a democratic system once a flaw has been discovered, the individuals who discover it have to then convince the group to close the flaw. This will publicize the flaw and worsen the corruption as the profiteers race to exploit it as much as possible before it is finally closed, because the profiteers have the advantage that they can act as individuals. They react faster than the bureaucracy, and they will always have this advantage until the system can react as individual. That is what I mean when I say that for a private enterprise corruption is impossible. As soon as any individual becomes aware of the corruption they can act upon it, and if they choose not to act then this means that they accept this behaviour as part of the normal costs of doing business.
Let's look at some examples. Suppose that someone encounters a bum living on a park bench. The individualist perceives a problem: homelessness. He decides to act on the problem by giving the bum some money, or helping him find shelter. He acts immediately and his action has an immediate impact on the problem. Now let's see how the communist acts on the same problem. He sees the bum and thinks "we must as a society do something to help this bum!" He begins discussion with his peers about the problem of homelessness. They have community meetings, and write pamphlets, and then articles in the papers are written, televised debates take place, books are published, political carreers are advanced, and so on. And while all this time passes, the bum is receiving absolutely no help. Time is a precious resource, and the bum has little of it. Winter is coming. By the time a solution has been implemented, he could have frozen to death several times over. Communism fails him.
We saw exactly this occur when hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. The situation was completely new. The government agencies that had been set up to nominally protect people were caught unprepared. People asked questions. Where is the government? Where is FEMA? Why aren't they intervening? People in FEMA asked: whose department is supposed to be handling this? Why aren't they handling it? People blamed the director of FEMA. Then they blamed the president, and some said he didn't care about black people. But that wasn't the only story. Individualists who saw the survivors in New Orleans waiting for rescue did not wait for "society" to intervene. They took a boat, any boat they could find, headed to New Orleans, and rescued people. It was done in no particular order, but it was done in time. A teenager who heard that survivors would be received at the Houston Astrodome commandeered an abandoned schoolbus, filled it with as many people as he could find, and headed there. It was the first group of survivors to arrive. They didn't want to accept them at first, because obviously they hadn't been prepared for this circumstance. What if they weren't authorized to do it?
Imagine how well the evacuation of New Orleans could have gone if, instead of clamoring and waiting for the government to act, every American had done a small part to help the evacuation. Many more lives could have been saved.
What if the solution you want to implement simply can't be understood by the group? The men who built the first computer did not ask society if they thought it was a good idea. It was impossible for everyone but themselves to understand how the system would work, under what conditions it would work or if it would work at all. Any advanced technology requires pioneers to defy the common knowledge. Laser eye surgery is an example I've used before. Who trusted laser eye surgery when it first appeared? How would "society" have reacted if it were proposed to invest its resources into such a counter-intuitive technology? They would have buried it before it ever got off the ground. We would all have been the poorer for it.
And yet what do I constantly hear on these forums? That planners must do a better job convincing the public that sprawl is bad. Where the hell do you get the idea that this is possible? Our environment will continue to be ruined until we accept that the public has to be presented with revolutionary ideas in existing form before they accept them as normal. That means that individuals must be allowed to act counter to what the public believes to be possible. That means that we have to make our cities into a market, and end two centuries of communism that has wrecked the landscape everywhere it has been applied. There is no avoiding it. It is the only solution.
Time counts. Acting on time is critical. Competence is critical. Communism wastes time and destroys competence. It also wastes lives. It has ruined your job and your cities. And yet instead of condemning the system as evil, you blame the people or the politicians that the system produces for all of your woes. Why? Why are you so attached to such a terrible system? Why is the system more important than the result? Why does every reply to reform I hear consist of fearmongering about corporations? How could it possibly get worse?