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The Case for Privatizing the North Dakota State Mill & Elevator

The Case for Privatizing the North Dakota State Mill & Elevator

North Dakota State Mill

I believe one of the biggest flaws in culture today is the acceptance of the default position of “let the government take care of ____.” I beg the question, why is the default position “letting politicians have a say in everything?” Better yet, why is this default position acceptable? Hence, the thesis of this article. Privatize the North Dakota State Mill. 

I am not arguing that the State Mill be burnt to the ground, everyone fired, or the such. There is no arguing that the operations of the mill are a good thing (absent of bankruptcy). It’s own operations fully fund the State Mill. It receives zero subsidies from the State of North Dakota. Some of the arguments against privatization are the worry of job loss, which in the end are entire voting blocks. However, this isn’t the case; the Mill runs like a business already. So you may ask yourself, “why isn’t it privatized.” Great question.

Privatize It

The State Mill is not being propped up, but reckless spend happy legislators are. The North Dakota Mill and Elevator Association has contributed more than 50% of its profits to the North Dakota State General Fund for more than 35 years. The market functions the State Mill plays are beneficial. Imagine the sustainability and accessibility farmers and consumers would have if the Mill were able to reinvest its profits? What is more beneficial? Republican and Democrat legislators with more money to squander, or expansion of agriculture?

How Is This Done?

The answer is not to sell it to the highest bidder. On the contrary, it is not the State of North Dakota’s to sell. Research would have to be done to find the just owners of the North Dakota State Mill. All taxpayer money that has been involved in the history of the State Mill should be tracked to the individuals or businesses where they originated (alive or next of kin). Comparatively, the percentage of these particular taxpayers will have pro-rata shares of this now Private Mill based in the amount paid (taxes).

Now, the shareholders would have vested interest in the stock of the Mill. Consequently, a board would be elected (can be same private individuals now or not) by these new shareholders. The State Mill has been operating in the black for some time now. Therefore, the possibility of a dramatic shake-up of operations is highly unlikely. There is no re-inventing the wheel here, the North Dakota State Mill practically is a company already. Let’s just make it official.

Final Thoughts

This article may be hard to swallow for the die-hard and closet socialists of the North Dakota Dem-NPL. For that matter for the closet socialists of the North Dakota Republican Party too. Eyes may roll, or an emotional response might form. The response will be the same old, “When the price of wheat drops significantly, farmers will lose their farms!” The next desired policy prescription from my dissidents is: “What if the government just raises/lowers the price of Y to support Z!” Which are invalid from the get go since the State Mill already runs as a business.

Socialism doesn’t work, interference with the pricing system will always net you a shortage or an over-supply. Government cannot calculate prices; it can only disrupt them. Changing the price of Y to support Z will hurt people A through Y in the meantime (shortage/oversupply). If prices suddenly do change, there has to be time for adjustment. For better or worse, the universe operates under given laws. Economic law is no different. Good things happen, and bad things happen. You cannot change that. Rushing in with technocratic policies during an adjustment period will make the situation worse. There is a reason why the Great Depression was the worst and longest depression; it was the first depression the government was ever involved in.

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