The surest way to decrease the quality of a product or service, and to increase its price, is to give the government monopoly control of it.
We tend to think the state is indispensable — a “necessary evil” — and have a hard time imagining our existence without it. But that’s only because we’ve never experienced the absence of state. I mean, if you get rid of the state, how will you provide security? Mail? Fire protection? Electricity? Water? Roads?
The answer is the same as any other good or service — the market, which provides all sorts of necessary goods and services like food, clothes, newspapers, shoes, computers, telephones, and cars.
Just look at the diversity of paper products. No one fights over the kinds of paper that ought to be produced — you just shop around until you find the type you need for your particular application. No one marches in the street to demand a particular kind of coat, and we don’t have any shortage of choice in the canned goods section of the grocery store. The reason is that these products are left largely unrestricted by the government, and so their supply responds to market forces.
But the quantity and placement of roads, the kind and quality of education, the expense and use of national defense, the calorie content of school lunches — all of these are the subject of constant political conflict precisely because they are under monopoly government control. We’re told that these goods are too important to leave to the private sector, but isn’t food important? Aren’t coats important?
Of course they are, and so is police protection and judicial administration. In fact, they are far too important to allow politicians to control them. They should all be left to the private sector, along with roads, national defense, utilities, and the mail.
In any event, the importance of a product or service is not really a factor in deciding to put it under government control. The difference in importance between first class mail and the parcel service is entirely arbitrary and subjective. We allow competition for parcel shipments, but not for first class mail, and while one might be more important to you, the other might be more important to someone else. “Importance” is just a talking point used to justify government regulation.
If you want better roads, police, fire protection, insurance, medical care, national defense, education, courts, mail, electric/water/sewer/gas utilities, and on and on, then get the government out of the way and let the private sector provide them.
4 thoughts on “The Key to Prosperity is Liberty”
Manny, you’ve never experienced the absence of state because you didn’t live 15,000 yrs ago. Every civilization by it’s very nature must have government. The scale, scope, and design may differ, but a government is always necessary. Perhaps in your utopian vacuum where all people are benevolent and corporations have the best interest of the people and planet in mind you could have a civilization without government, unfortunately for the rest of us living on planet earth we have to cope with reality. If you want to see what life without government is like, just move to the Brazilian rainforest, I hear there are still some tribes left living in the stoneage there.
Honestly, I love libertarianism as an idea. My only problem is, like communism, it’s an idealized fantasy that can’t exist in practice. You would have to imagine a world where I stake a claim to some land, then build my shelter, and do as I please. Sounds great! Problem is, what if someone else claims that land or others want it. I must now defend it on my own, night and day. I could build a shelter, but probably not a very comfortable one. I could have someone else build it, but who can tell if his work will withstand the first storm or an earthquake. The stream that runs through my land is great, but I hear a fellow libertarian upstream uses it to dump his human waste. See next comment…
I’d love a road to town, but it isn’t very profitable for the road builder to build one just for me out hear. Besides I hear the last bridge he built collapsed into a canyon because of poor construction techniques and shortcuts he took. Without a well trained emergency rescue squad sitting around the firehouse there was no one to rescue all the people on bridge when it collapse into the river below. For those that did survive it was tough luck, the auto and health insurance company said the collapse must have been some act of God and cancelled all their policies. Bridgebuilder said the same thing and won’t pay anyones expenses. They’d sue in court, but their is no court, you’d need laws and a government for that. See next coment…
Hospital aksed all the libertarians to contribute to the cost of the care for the injured, but they declined because that’d be to much like communism. The hospital, a for profit business was forced to throw most of the injured out after patching them up a bit. I wouldn’t be to worried though, I hear the doctor there was homeschooled on medicine and surgery by his dad, a vet. – I could go on and on, but I hope you get the picture. The world may not be perfect now, but I can assure you that it would likely be much worse without a government.