Sunday, October 18, 2009

Why government?

The agruement against having a compulsory government is pretty straight forward. Who can be trusted to decide how you should live your life. Government ultimately will be that decision maker.
While leaders support the controls you support, it is easy to favor government.
Government decides what you can eat, who you can marry and what you can buy. As long as government policy favors allowing the things you like, you have no problems supporting it especially when it is trying to stop the actions you feel people should not be allowed to do.
But governments change and new people take over and as long as the leaders believe they have the political support, there is nothing to stop them from opposing the actions you like.
Even if government is limited to just protecting people from everyone except government, it is a monopoly. The basic principles of economics teach us the monopolies will tend to under produce. A compulsory monopoly will tend to overcharge.
This means that government security will tend to be under produced. In fact, anything that the government does can be better done in the market.
In the free market, companies compete to drive down prices and if you do not like the quality of the product you can purchase it somewhere else or even provide it.


Michael Humpherys said...

I have a few questions concerning your post, though let me say that while you do not say it explicitly, I will infer from your title and comments that you are implying that there should be no government at all.
1) How do you envision a free market actually working in a governmentless society? If there are laws, who creates and enforces them? If there are no laws, who prevents the most powerful people from doing what is unjust?
2)How exactly would free markets provide protection? What is to prevent them from acting unjustly? For example, what if a person who wants to kill you and take your stuff just pays the company that protects you more than you do, and you simply disappear, who exactly is going to prevent this? What is to prevent these companies from terrifying people into paying them, and indeed to prevent the most powerful ones from gaining monopolies on protection or any other commodity? Your proposal seems like a descent into organized crime, where there is no judicial system to punish the unjust.
3) How exactly is the government a monopoly and under producing? It seems to me that the government is not a single entity, but made up of many entities that are constantly vying for power and in order to maintain their power they must satisfy the "customers" (i.e. the people). For example two people are running for an office, the incumbent and the new comer. If the incumbent has not lived up to the promises he's made and pleased his constituency, then he will likely no be reelected, and thus his opposition will. Thus we have competition and motivation for better government and satisfying the people. Now, certainly in our government there is great corruption and the incumbent often wins without opposition regardless, but this is a problem in practice and not in principle.
4) Who will arbitrate disputes over contract violations and social issues? Will there be some judicial system? If so, how will it be impartial when it is being paid by someone, perhaps even one of the prosecution or defense?
5) Further, I would challenge you to offer any large group of people in history that had no government, and did not descent into blood shed followed shortly by the rise of a tyrant or tyrants.
6) I think the mistake you have made here is to confuse economic theory with political theory. Economic theory assumes political theory in that an economy must have a foundation of stability in order to operate. Without politics, economics won't work, and as is natural to humans that we will quickly make laws and find methods of enforcing them, in order to ensure the economy, among other things, will run. But an economy cannot exist in and of itself, unless you can answer my above questions, among others not mentioned.

Verl Humpherys said...

Your concerns are very common concerns about how a free, government society might operate. I will deal with all your concerns in time as it will take quite a while to deal with each.