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writing for godot

Government vs No Government

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Written by David Starr   
Thursday, 20 July 2017 03:56

Government has played an important role in promoting the general welfare. What this means is a body of legislators enacting laws to produce an orderly society that promotes civilization. It also involves regulation in overseeing the risks in society, e.g., protecting the public good from the excesses of capitalism.

With the establishment of nation-states, it becomes all the more important for government to play a crucial role. Without it, there would be a large population living in chaos. It would be survival of the fittest. The strong would form their own "societies" that would rival other "societies," and oppress the weak. Government is thus necessary to prevent this scenario.

But government is not absolute (nothing is). It can't be a cure-all for society's ills. Government can't control everything. A small group of legislators must share power in whatever form with the population. In the United States, as with other countries, voting is a sharing of power, however minimal and imperfect it is. There could be sharing of power, e.g., through the economy. The basis of an economy could be made up of workers cooperatives, sole proprietorships and "mom and pop" businesses. But what about multi-national corporations? Only the most important ones could be nationalized, e.g., in dealing with oil and gas. As for the others, they could be broken down into smaller parts and turned into cooperatives. As for the political, referendums on some important issues affecting the public could be held on occasion.

Government must share power to some degree.

Critics of government like libertarians and anarcho-capitalists are to the right in the political spectrum, at least in regards to the economy. They promote the "free" market. (Free for whom to do what?) But this term has been used like a mantra in contributing to an unleashed capitalism, with imperialism protecting it. For these critics, every man is an island, with no cooperative or collective relations. But no one has made it on their own, literally-speaking. The rich have workers producing the goods and services being sold to make the rich richer through a surplus; while workers receive a tiny portion of that wealth which is produced through their own labor power.

Libertarians and anarcho-capitalists probably envision a paradise unfettered by government. But it would be paradise for the few strong enough to "make it." Everyone is on their own. And the "Invisible Hand" of the "free" market would decide the fate of the masses. This goes against the acquiring of some degree of economic and political power for the many.

There is something perverse, e.g., about the fire department or the police department being privatized and offering their services to the highest bidder. But this would be the case under a system with no government. Libertarians and anarcho-capitalists would be fine with this. Although if they needed the services of the police or fire departments but couldn't afford it, they would hypocritically complain about how unfair it is. So much for their "dedicated" stand against government. They wouldn't want to be victims of their own system.

Will there come a day when government/the state won't be needed? Maybe. If humankind evolves to such a level where trust is a high priority. And when class struggles are essentially ended. It may not be a paradise. But something better than we have now.

Government is going to be around for a long time. Why not accentuate its positives...like promoting the general welfare?

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