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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Limited Government as a Public Good

While I'm at it, Jim also did an excellent job of standing the liberal "public good" argument for big government on its head:

The liberal critique of voluntarism is that it is piecemeal and inadequate to momentous tasks like flood prevention and disaster relief. The coordination problem is too large and the horizon of individual interest too limited. Only government has the size and public-spiritedness to tackle such momentous tasks. However, liberals also argue that it’s crucial to have the right people in charge of the government to achieve these things. The problem is that, in a democracy, getting those “right people” into office is itself a monumental problem of voluntary coordination and outreaching the horizon of self-interest. The track record of liberal success at this in recent decades casts doubt on the automatic superiority of government action to achieve liberal goals.

Or as he summarized the argument more recently, "the public goods problem of controlling the state" is bigger than the public goods problem of dealing with any other issue without the state. If we're not aware and involved and persistent enough to do all this wonderful goo-goo stuff ourselves without a government to coordinate things for us, how can we possibly be aware and involved and persistent enough to watch the watchmen?

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