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Old 10-10-2007, 07:19 PM   #1
Achilles
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Gates outlines Army transformation goals

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WASHINGTON - The U.S. Army of the future will need to concentrate more on training foreign militaries, mastering other languages and customs, and honing its ability to fight smaller forces of insurgents, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday.

In broad strokes, Gates laid out a vision for transforming the Army to a force better able to fight the type of unconventional warfare it has seen in Iraq and Afghanistan, which he said will "remain the mainstay of the contemporary battlefield for some time."
Hmmm. Forgive me if I miss the mark here, but isn't this the same thing that Clinton was trying to establish (smaller, quick strike forces that relied on technological superiority and urban warfare training rather than large, standing armies)?

I am glad to see that Gates doesn't appear to be a subscriber to the Wolfowitz Doctrine.
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Old 10-10-2007, 07:39 PM   #2
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It's good to see that we're training our soldiers to serve in future interventionist conflicts...





Wer mit Ungeheuern kämpft, mag zusehn, dass er nicht dabei zum Ungeheuer wird. Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein. -Friedrich Nietzsche, Jenseits von Gut und Böse
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Old 10-10-2007, 08:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt
It's good to see that we're training our soldiers to serve in future interventionist conflicts...
I don't think that we're at a point in human history where we can afford to do without such forces. I think the key indicator of our maturity and ability to act responsibility will be how we choose to utilize those forces in the future. My 2 cents.
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Old 10-10-2007, 08:32 PM   #4
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Hey, look, an idea we should have adopted back in Vietnam. Military intelligence really IS an oxymoron.

On a serious note, I am quite amazed that this has taken to so long for somebody to realize we need to do this. We've needed to modify what kind of wars we can fight since WWII, and the Marines and Special Ops are great starters, but they're just too small.


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Old 10-10-2007, 09:41 PM   #5
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The U.S. Marine Corp is the smallest in the world. I think that it is good that the United States does HELP train other nation's military force. I mean the U.S is a superpower; therefor, I personally think that our military should do this because we CANNOT try to defend other nation's all of the time because it will eventually suck us dry, and destroy the U.S goverment from the inside out.

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Old 10-10-2007, 10:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
I don't think that we're at a point in human history where we can afford to do without such forces. I think the key indicator of our maturity and ability to act responsibility will be how we choose to utilize those forces in the future. My 2 cents.
Of course we need a military, I never said that. I just think that we shouldn't go throwing away American lives every time some two-cred dictator starts spouting empty rhetoric. I think our armed forces need to be redeployed in such a way that they could perform the traditional functions of the peacetime army: keeping the border with Mexico secure and acting as a deterrent to those who would do us harm.

I don't think we can afford to play world police for much longer, given the state of our vital war industries. Springfield Armory has been closed since '68, and Winchester closed last year. The United States Military is still the finest fighting force in the world, but nevertheless we have become something of a paper tiger, so we should stop playing tiger in the first place.





Wer mit Ungeheuern kämpft, mag zusehn, dass er nicht dabei zum Ungeheuer wird. Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein. -Friedrich Nietzsche, Jenseits von Gut und Böse
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Old 10-10-2007, 10:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt
Of course we need a military, I never said that.
It was not my intention to imply that you did. My apologies. I was focusing primarily on the word "interventionist" when drafting my reply to your post. I hope that helps to provide some additional context for what I wrote.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt
I just think that we shouldn't go throwing away American lives every time some two-cred dictator starts spouting empty rhetoric.
Focusing on "empty rhetoric", I agree. If we are talking about action though, I think someone needs to intervene, although I don't agree that it should be a unilaterial, U.S. military force.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt
I think our armed forces need to be redeployed in such a way that they could perform the traditional functions of the peacetime army: keeping the border with Mexico secure and acting as a deterrent to those who would do us harm.
Are you recommending a draw down of our standing army and an increase in our national guard? I agree.

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Originally Posted by John Galt
I don't think we can afford to play world police for much longer, given the state of our vital war industries.
Stein's Law: If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.
China will mostly likely be the world's predominant economic superpower in 40 years so I think we can set our countdown for American imperialism according to that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt
Springfield Armory has been closed since '68, and Winchester closed last year. The United States Military is still the finest fighting force in the world, but nevertheless we have become something of a paper tiger, so we should stop playing tiger in the first place.
Didn't someone in yesterday's Republican Debate point out that we've outsourced many of our military contracts? I know that the lucrative one's stay here, but...
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Old 10-11-2007, 12:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
It was not my intention to imply that you did. My apologies. I was focusing primarily on the word "interventionist" when drafting my reply to your post. I hope that helps to provide some additional context for what I wrote.
Sure thing.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Focusing on "empty rhetoric", I agree. If we are talking about action though, I think someone needs to intervene, although I don't agree that it should be a unilaterial, U.S. military force.
I don't think it ought to be a United States military force at all, unless the country that is being invaded presents (to quote Schenk v US) a "clear and present danger" to the US.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Are you recommending a draw down of our standing army and an increase in our national guard? I agree.
Somewhat. I think a fairly substantial standing army is necessary for the purpose of readiness, and to carry out public works, disaster relief, etc. during peacetime. That being said, I think elements of each state's national guard(or non-incorporated militia) would better suit the peacetime needs of the individual states whilst maintaining an element of readiness. However, interstate peacetime tasks, such as establishing and maintaining the sanctity and security of our borders, would require a national force, which could also serve as the core around which larger wartime armies are built(as per historical precedent).

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Stein's Law: If something cannot go on forever, it will stop. China will mostly likely be the world's predominant economic superpower in 40 years so I think we can set our countdown for American imperialism according to that.
Why not start now?

Also, I don't think the Chinese state will be able to maintain itself in its current incarnation, depriving its citizens of their inalienable rights. Like most totalitarian states, Red China only prospers because of the sanction free nations composed of free men give it(wow, that came out far more Randist than I meant it to). I think we need to more closely investigate China's human rights abuses and call them out on the world stage, and implement tariffs and taxes on goods produced overseas, especially in nations with nondemocratic governments.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Didn't someone in yesterday's Republican Debate point out that we've outsourced many of our military contracts? I know that the lucrative one's stay here, but...
Yes, and that bothers me, even though I am a fan of FN and H&K, I think the weapons systems employed by our armed forces should be designed and produced domestically, for the sake of national security in the event of war or other disaster. We really need to re-establish Springfield Armory as the nation's official R&D, design, and production center for our firearms, thereby internalizing the process of arming our soldiers(and eliminating firearms designed and produced by the lowest bidder), so that more of our servicemen and women come home alive.





Wer mit Ungeheuern kämpft, mag zusehn, dass er nicht dabei zum Ungeheuer wird. Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein. -Friedrich Nietzsche, Jenseits von Gut und Böse
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Old 10-11-2007, 01:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt
I don't think it ought to be a United States military force at all, unless the country that is being invaded presents (to quote Schenk v US) a "clear and present danger" to the US.
Agreed, however I do think that we should be willing to commit troops to U.N. endeavors, et cetera. I have supported the argument for avoiding foreign entanglements in the past and I don't wish to change my argument now. I do acknowledge that there are some cases in which it is immoral to stand by and let others abuse power though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt
Somewhat. I think a fairly substantial standing army is necessary for the purpose of readiness, and to carry out public works, disaster relief, etc. during peacetime. That being said, I think elements of each state's national guard(or non-incorporated militia) would better suit the peacetime needs of the individual states whilst maintaining an element of readiness. However, interstate peacetime tasks, such as establishing and maintaining the sanctity and security of our borders, would require a national force, which could also serve as the core around which larger wartime armies are built(as per historical precedent).
Did you just talk yourself out of a "substantial standing army"?

I think we're mostly on the same track here. I think we should have a fairly substantial National Guard/Coast Guard, but I don't think a standing army is necessary. We did just fine without one before the Cold War, so I don't really see why one is necessary after it has ended.

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Originally Posted by John Galt
Why not start now?
Because I think we might be past the point of drawing down gracefully. I hope we are not, but I fear that we are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt
Also, I don't think the Chinese state will be able to maintain itself in its current incarnation, depriving its citizens of their inalienable rights. Like most totalitarian states, Red China only prospers because of the sanction free nations composed of free men give it(wow, that came out far more Randist than I meant it to). I think we need to more closely investigate China's human rights abuses and call them out on the world stage, and implement tariffs and taxes on goods produced overseas, especially in nations with nondemocratic governments.
I guess we'll just have to wait and see. It is difficult to have capitalism without democracy. As capitalism continues to build momentum, I think democracy will follow suit. China opted for Communism out of necessity, I think they will make a similar change in ideology when the benefits of said change become similarly necessary/self-evident.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt
Yes, and that bothers me, even though I am a fan of FN and H&K, I think the weapons systems employed by our armed forces should be designed and produced domestically, for the sake of national security in the event of war or other disaster. We really need to re-establish Springfield Armory as the nation's official R&D, design, and production center for our firearms, thereby internalizing the process of arming our soldiers(and eliminating firearms designed and produced by the lowest bidder), so that more of our servicemen and women come home alive.
Meh. My background with macroeconomics makes me wants to disagree, but I still see where you're coming from with regards to national security.
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Old 10-11-2007, 12:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
Meh. My background with macroeconomics makes me wants to disagree, but I still see where you're coming from with regards to national security.
Very interesting. Care to elaborate?





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Old 10-11-2007, 01:18 PM   #11
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If goods can be manufactured cheaper somewhere else, then it's in that country's interest and our country's interest to purchase them from there. Measures can be put into place to ensure quality standards are met, so we don't have to worry about crappy goods (unless we don't care). But at the same time, if the manufacturer is in, say, North Korea and we're on bad terms with North Korea, then our long-term ability to get said goods might be compromised.
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Old 10-11-2007, 09:48 PM   #12
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I would be quick to differentiate weapons used by our military from normal goods. Even if the weapons could be manufactured more cheaply elsewhere, production needs to remain domestic in peacetime so that we can ramp up production accordingly in the event of war.

That's not to say that private companies couldn't be used as supplemental production during wartime(like Winchester, Harrington&Richardson, and International Harvester were for M1 rifles), but our primary means of R&D, testing, and production need to be controlled directly by the military.





Wer mit Ungeheuern kämpft, mag zusehn, dass er nicht dabei zum Ungeheuer wird. Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein. -Friedrich Nietzsche, Jenseits von Gut und Böse
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Old 10-11-2007, 11:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt
I would be quick to differentiate weapons used by our military from normal goods. Even if the weapons could be manufactured more cheaply elsewhere, production needs to remain domestic in peacetime so that we can ramp up production accordingly in the event of war.
I agree 100%, but would also add military transportation, uniforms, equipment, food supply and anything else vital to maintain today’s military.

However, Congress and the Military should pull subsidies when they have out lived their usefulness (see Wool and Mohair subsidy 1960-1993).
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Old 10-12-2007, 12:29 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt
I would be quick to differentiate weapons used by our military from normal goods. Even if the weapons could be manufactured more cheaply elsewhere, production needs to remain domestic in peacetime so that we can ramp up production accordingly in the event of war.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mimartin
I agree 100%, but would also add military transportation, uniforms, equipment, food supply and anything else vital to maintain today’s military.
Militaries can't stockpile?

@mimartin: all the things you've listed have been privatized via contractors. Troops don't peel potatoes anymore, Halliburton does.
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Old 10-12-2007, 12:51 AM   #15
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of course militaries CAN stockpile, but military weapons become outdated after a period of time, but I suppose that is what creates the surplus market. It'd be nice if the machine gun act of 1928(?) would be repealed or amended so we could buy modern firearms from the CMP. That would help cover the cost of the military, and would be mutually beneficial for the individual and the military.

What I'm getting at is that stockpiling small arms and destroying them once they become outdated a few years later is a gross waste of public funds, whereas if the military produced according to its peacetime needs, with a nice reserve of weapons, and sold off old, outdated, or worn out rifles and other equipment, the military would use far less taxpayer money than if it held enough in stockpile to fight a full scale war, just to melt most of it down a few years later.





Wer mit Ungeheuern kämpft, mag zusehn, dass er nicht dabei zum Ungeheuer wird. Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein. -Friedrich Nietzsche, Jenseits von Gut und Böse

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Old 10-12-2007, 01:05 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Achilles
@mimartin: all the things you've listed have been privatized via contractors.
I’m all for privatizing (if it cuts cost and increases quality), but I want them produced in the USA.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
@Troops don't peel potatoes anymore, Halliburton does.
I can not believe you used that language in my presents. That is concerned an obscene word in my household. $45.00 for a six-pack of Cokes!!!!!
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Old 10-12-2007, 01:15 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt
What I'm getting at is that stockpiling small arms and destroying them once they become outdated a few years later is a gross waste of public funds, whereas if the military produced according to its peacetime needs, with a nice reserve of weapons, and sold off old, outdated, or worn out rifles and other equipment, the military would use far less taxpayer money than if it held enough in stockpile to fight a full scale war, just to melt most of it down a few years later.
I guess I'm not seeing how this is any different that what I am suggesting, with the exception that I'm okay with weapons production being done someplace else if it's cost-effective to do so and you're not. And that's ok too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mimartin
I’m all for privatizing (if it cuts cost and increases quality), but I want them produced in the USA.
Again, I'm not so picky. If South Korea (as an example) can produce the weapons at the same quality with lower cost, I rather save the taxpayers some money and purchase goods that stimulate their economy rather than keep on giving them economic aid as a hand-out. But that's just me.

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Originally Posted by mimartin
I can not believe you used that language in my presence. That is concerned an obscene word in my household. $45.00 for a six-pack of Cokes!!!!!
Hey, you're the one that wants it done here in the good ole US of A. Careful what you wish for
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Old 10-12-2007, 01:34 AM   #18
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my arguments for military control of the design aspects of its own weapon systems can be summed up in two firearms:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M9_pistol
The M9 is a good example of weapons being produced overseas by the lowest bidder (Beretta in this case)and putting our soldiers in danger needlessly(see "Controversy" in the article)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M16_rifle
The M16 is an example of a firearm that had not gone through sufficient testing to ensure field reliability, which is STILL an issue with this rifle nearly 50 years after it was first produced in 1960, thus once again costing our servicemen their lives in every conflict from Vietnam to Iraq. Notably, it was the first general issue rifle not initially refined and produced at the Springfield Armory.





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Old 10-12-2007, 03:53 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt
my arguments for military control of the design aspects of its own weapon systems can be summed up in two firearms: <snip>
Please correct me if I am missing the point, but in both of these cases your concern appears to be with questionable quality. If that is indeed the case, then I question the quality control procedures in use by the manufacture and the failure of the purchaser to enforce minimum quality requirement (I'm making big assumption on this last part. It may be that the failure rates listed are with acceptable ranges set forth by the purchaser).

If this indeed your argument then I would think that the purchaser is the one to blame in both cases. One, for not requiring higher standards from the manufacturer and two, for not changing manufacturers if the standards are high, but are not being met.

I don't think either of these points raise a case for not utilizing global markets. If the best quality and most competitive price comes from our manufactures, then we should purchase from them. If those things are present elsewhere, we should purchase there.

Thank for the links. Very interesting reading (I knew about the M16s, but not the M9s)!
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Old 10-12-2007, 07:23 PM   #20
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My basic point is that the Army knows best what the Army needs, so rather than testing corporate-produced weapons, the military ought to be designing(both the AR15 and the M9 are poorly designed for use in battle conditions), refining(H&K finally perfected the AR design just a couple of years ago, and it hasn't even been implemented yet), and producing its own weapons(obvious from poor quality control in the M9) and essential materiel, at least in peacetime.

I do agree that corporate and even foreign contracts for supplemental production of specific products may be necessary for during wartime, but I think the primary means of manufacture for specific systems, like small arms, should be directly in the hands of the US Government in order to streamline the process of oversight.





Wer mit Ungeheuern kämpft, mag zusehn, dass er nicht dabei zum Ungeheuer wird. Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein. -Friedrich Nietzsche, Jenseits von Gut und Böse
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Old 10-12-2007, 07:38 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt
My basic point is that the Army knows best what the Army needs, so rather than testing corporate-produced weapons, the military ought to be designing(both the AR15 and the M9 are poorly designed for use in battle conditions), refining(H&K finally perfected the AR design just a couple of years ago, and it hasn't even been implemented yet), and producing its own weapons(obvious from poor quality control in the M9) and essential materiel, at least in peacetime.

I do agree that corporate and even foreign contracts for supplemental production of specific products may be necessary for during wartime, but I think the primary means of manufacture for specific systems, like small arms, should be directly in the hands of the US Government in order to streamline the process of oversight.
Someone has to the make the weapon. Whether that entity is a the military itself or a contractor working for the military isn't going to change that. The military is going to have a minimum standard regardless of who manufactures the weapon. The manufacturer is going to have a quality assurance process whether that manufacturer is the military itself or a contractor. Therefore I still don't see what the argument is.

These problem that you keep bringing up ultimately fall back to the military itself. If they choose to purchase a crappy product, that's their fault.

In another thread, you insist that free markets should be allowed to operate without restriction, however when it comes to the military, you seem to think that should not be the case. You've yet to produce a sound economic reason to support this thinking.

So I'll simply repeat what I've already said: If the best quality and most competitive price comes from our manufactures, then we should purchase from them. If those things are present elsewhere, we should purchase there.

Thanks for your response.
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Old 10-12-2007, 11:17 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Achilles
In another thread, you insist that free markets should be allowed to operate without restriction, however when it comes to the military, you seem to think that should not be the case. You've yet to produce a sound economic reason to support this thinking.

Thanks for your response.
Even positive Governmental interference restricts the free market. It upsets market equilibrium, and harms competition in the private sector.

I suppose service rifles have become the de facto example of military products for this thread.

Example: There are three companies: X, Y, and Z corporations, that manufacture civillian firearms and are basically in a state of perfect competition(which is basically the case in civillian firearms anyway). The Army needs 300,000 service rifles, and any of the three large manufacturers are capable of meeting that quota. Should the government choose, say, Y Corp. to manufacture its weapon, it gives Y corp. a competitive advantage over its competitiors, due simply to the size and constant nature of the contract versus the annual free-market cycle that effects civillian firearms.

In manufacturing its own rifles the government interferes less with the private sector, which is left to its own devices until wartime, when government demand for more firearms would necessitate contracts for X, Y, and Z corporations, benefitting all three of them. Smaller lots could also be produced at smaller companies, thereby providing additional production capacity during times of war or other emergency.





Wer mit Ungeheuern kämpft, mag zusehn, dass er nicht dabei zum Ungeheuer wird. Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein. -Friedrich Nietzsche, Jenseits von Gut und Böse
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Old 10-12-2007, 11:58 PM   #23
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Don't know that it's necessary for the government to take over production (isn't it too damn big already?), but rather important to make sure that there are domestic firms that can produce good (or, better yet, excellent) weapons (from pistols to planes), rather than risk depending upon foreign firms to produce military hardware. Nations don't have permanent friends, just interests.


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Old 10-13-2007, 12:02 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt
Even positive Governmental interference restricts the free market. It upsets market equilibrium, and harms competition in the private sector.
Huh? How can "equilibrium" and "free market" both be a priority. One is socialism and the other is capitalism. Socialism has controlled markets and capitalism has free markets. If So-and-so wants to buy from Company X, they should be free to do so. Company X works hard to produce a competitive product at a competitive price for the chance to increase market share (thereby "upsetting the equilibrium"). "Upsetting the equilibrium" is precisely what competition is.

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Originally Posted by John Galt
I suppose service rifles have become the de facto example of military products for this thread.
Sound good.

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Originally Posted by John Galt
Example: There are three companies: X, Y, and Z corporations, that manufacture civillian firearms and are basically in a state of perfect competition(which is basically the case in civillian firearms anyway).
Please operationally define what you mean by "perfect competition"? "Perfect competition" is actual an actual economic term may be being used out of context here.

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Originally Posted by John Galt
The Army needs 300,000 service rifles, and any of the three large manufacturers are capable of meeting that quota. Should the government choose, say, Y Corp. to manufacture its weapon, it gives Y corp. a competitive advantage over its competitiors, due simply to the size and constant nature of the contract versus the annual free-market cycle that effects civillian firearms.
Well, if we truly are in a state of perfect competition, then it doesn't really matter which firm the military gives the contract to. Since we are considering giving the contract to an outside entity, we can safely assume that we have already determined that it is more expensive to produce the weapons ourselves rather than buy them from someone else. And since each of the 3 company's products are exactly identical (perfect competition), then it doesn't really matter which one is selected (you'll get the exact same 300,000 units from company X as you would from company Y or Z). So since no one company has higher quality or lower costs, then you could easily let them "rock, paper, scissors" a decision for you.

But yes, whichever company did end up with the contract would then have a competitive advantage over the other and the scenario would no longer meet the criteria for perfect competition. Of course, this is precisely what it means to operate in a free market.

So at this point, I have to tell you that I'm completely at a loss as to whether you are for free markets or against them.

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Originally Posted by John Galt
In manufacturing its own rifles the government interferes less with the private sector, which is left to its own devices until wartime, when government demand for more firearms would necessitate contracts for X, Y, and Z corporations, benefitting all three of them. Smaller lots could also be produced at smaller companies, thereby providing additional production capacity during times of war or other emergency.
Yes, the private sector for rifles. You're still influencing the market for raw materials. Shouldn't we be concerned about those markets as well? Again, I'm not sure if you're aware of it or not, but your argument sounds a lot like socialism.
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Old 10-13-2007, 12:04 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Totenkopf
Don't know that it's necessary for the government to take over production (isn't it too damn big already?), but rather important to make sure that there are domestic firms that can produce good (or, better yet, excellent) weapons (from pistols to planes), rather than risk depending upon foreign firms to produce military hardware. Nations don't have permanent friends, just interests.
The government wouldn't be "taking over" production. It traditionally has controlled the production of small arms, right up until the M16A1 was adopted in 1968 and the Springfield Armory(which was created during the revolution) was closed down. Since then the quality of American small arms has suffered, due in part to the "excellent" weapons produced by Colt, a domestic producer.

And I didn't suggest that we ought to rely on foreign production by any means, just that if bad comes to worse, foreign firms like BSA, FN, and H&K could be contracted to produce supplemental weaponry should the need arise.





Wer mit Ungeheuern kämpft, mag zusehn, dass er nicht dabei zum Ungeheuer wird. Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein. -Friedrich Nietzsche, Jenseits von Gut und Böse
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Old 10-13-2007, 12:23 AM   #26
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Not really sure how military control of the design process will guarantee a quality weapon. Wasn't the M1 Garand, one of the best WW2 infantry weapons designed by a man NOT in the military? Also, sometimes weapons have to be designed outside the system b/c the military can be slow to "catch up with the times". Think Billy Mitchel and the development of the tank. Perhaps, to clear up any potential for further misunderstanding, you could explain exactly what you mean by controlling the process. It sounds a lot like you're calling for military run design and production factories, which would be no guarantee of quality products.


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Old 10-13-2007, 12:49 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Achilles
Huh? How can "equilibrium" and "free market" both be a priority. One is socialism and the other is capitalism. Socialism has controlled markets and capitalism has free markets. If So-and-so wants to buy from Company X, they should be free to do so. Company X works hard to produce a competitive product at a competitive price for the chance to increase market share (thereby "upsetting the equilibrium"). "Upsetting the equilibrium" is precisely what competition is.
I'll try to boil down what I'm trying to say in one sentence. It's not fair for the government to use large quantities of public money to grossly upset the market in a relatively small niche industry(civillian rifle production) and undermine competition there, leaving companies X and Z at a competitional disadvantage.


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Originally Posted by Achilles
Please operationally define what you mean by "perfect competition"? "Perfect competition" is actual an actual economic term may be being used out of context here.
I misremembered(nice Bushism there) the definition. What I was referring to is a situation in which multiple companies manufacture more or less identical products. I forgot the other traits of perfect competion. Mea culpa.

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Originally Posted by Achilles
Well, if we truly are in a state of perfect competition, then it doesn't really matter which firm the military gives the contract to. Since we are considering giving the contract to an outside entity, we can safely assume that we have already determined that it is more expensive to produce the weapons ourselves rather than buy them from someone else. And since each of the 3 company's products are exactly identical (perfect competition), then it doesn't really matter which one is selected (you'll get the exact same 300,000 units from company X as you would from company Y or Z). So since no one company has higher quality or lower costs, then you could easily let them "rock, paper, scissors" a decision for you.
Right, but it's still upsetting the market. It would be unfair to award any of those three companies the contract.


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Originally Posted by Achilles
Yes, the private sector for rifles. You're still influencing the market for raw materials. Shouldn't we be concerned about those markets as well?
Of course, but the market for raw materials, basically wood and steel, is much larger, and government procurements of those items would upset that market as much as, or perhaps even less than, the construction of new government buildings. Basically what I'm getting at is the size and relative stability of the market involved should determine the extent of government interference in those markets. Springfield Armory purchasing the materials necessary for the production of 300,000 service rifles would produce far smaller ripples on the larger raw materials market than would procuring 300,000 ready-made rifles from a single company in the much smaller firearms market.

essentially we need to be judicious in spending government funds so as not to create taxpayer-funded monopolies.





Wer mit Ungeheuern kämpft, mag zusehn, dass er nicht dabei zum Ungeheuer wird. Und wenn du lange in einen Abgrund blickst, blickt der Abgrund auch in dich hinein. -Friedrich Nietzsche, Jenseits von Gut und Böse
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Old 10-13-2007, 03:57 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt
I'll try to boil down what I'm trying to say in one sentence. It's not fair for the government to use large quantities of public money to grossly upset the market in a relatively small niche industry(civillian rifle production) and undermine competition there, leaving companies X and Z at a competitional disadvantage.
Okay. How is it fair to waste larger quantities of public money (taxes) by producing weapons when purchasing them is less expensive? Also, assuming that no collusion is taking place, companies X and Z were at a competitive disadvantage before the purchase took place. That's what happens in a competitive market; buyers buy the product that has the most competitive quality offered at the most competitive price. If that is what company Y was doing, then company Y has now been rewarded for it effort. Yay company Y. Yay free markets.

Again, you seem to think that this process undermines competition while I'm trying to point out that this process is competition.

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Originally Posted by John Galt
I misremembered(nice Bushism there) the definition. What I was referring to is a situation in which multiple companies manufacture more or less identical products. I forgot the other traits of perfect competion. Mea culpa.
Companies producing identical (not similar, identical) products is one of the criteria necessary for perfect competition. No worries though.

Love the bushism!

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Originally Posted by John Galt
Right, but it's still upsetting the market. It would be unfair to award any of those three companies the contract.
You can't avoid what you are describing in free market! It is absolutely "fair" (I prefer to deal with "equitable", but in this case "fair" still works) that the company with the most competitive product wins the contract. If we're still dealing with the hypothetical "perfect competition" model, then yes, maybe it isn't fair that one company gets it and the other two don't. That's not the military's fault. That's the company's fault for producing a product that is indistinguishable from products already in the market. This is like athletic teams that never try to do more than simply maintain a tie with the other team. Never happens in real life; one team is always trying to outscore the other. That's competition.

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Originally Posted by John Galt
Of course, but the market for raw materials, basically wood and steel, is much larger, and government procurements of those items would upset that market as much as, or perhaps even less than, the construction of new government buildings.
Huh? Purchasing 300,000 rifles gives one company a unfair advantage and disrupts the equilibrium of the market, but purchasing the materials to make 300,000 rifles doesn't accomplish the same thing in those respective markets? Seems to me that with more competitors, such a purchase would have more of an impact, not less.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt
Basically what I'm getting at is the size and relative stability of the market involved should determine the extent of government interference in those markets.
So you're against free markets/capitalism. Just say so

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt
Springfield Armory purchasing the materials necessary for the production of 300,000 service rifles would produce far smaller ripples on the larger raw materials market than would procuring 300,000 ready-made rifles from a single company in the much smaller firearms market.
I don't see how this is possible at all unless you're assuming that Springfield purchases equal amounts from all competitors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Galt
essentially we need to be judicious in spending government funds so as not to create taxpayer-funded monopolies.
I'm not sure I understand the leap in reasoning. So long as their aren't any barriers to entering the market and other companies are able to produce competitive goods, then no monopoly can exist.
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