Chapter 18, Government Functions, Prologue

It has been a long time. And it’s been an even longer time since my last post on Basic Economics. This is no coincidence. We are at Chapter 18, which deals with the functions of government. Until the last month or so, I have personally wavered on questions of whether or not the state is necessary, whether the free market or the government could efficiently provide security and justice for all, and whether it could be just. Additionally, given that we already have a state, whether it is worth the trouble to transition from state run monopolies on infrastructure, defense, and other areas to a completely open and competitive free market. And if so, how exactly that would be done.

Meanwhile I’m faced with the reality that if the state were truly minimal, if it left us to our own devices, free from direct taxation and onerous regulations, who would care? Perhaps I would be content to swallow the pitch Sowell makes about the necessity of the state and not worry myself too much about it. On top of this, there is the delicate task of advocating for a free market in the  security and justice industry without sounding like a loon.

Should I acquiesce and just concede the necessity of the state for the sake of argument? That is the view 99% of people hold. And what is the point of arguing to abolish the state here? Why not focus on areas where I have a better chance of winning people over?

To be direct: because truth matters. Truth matters when it’s inconvenient, and when it is unpopular and tedious and draining.

With this in mind, I will examine both the case for the government as Sowell makes the case for it in Chapter 18 and an alternative case for free market competition in areas currently controlled by government entities. Hopefully, if you haven’t thought me to be a lunatic up until now, you will stick with me through my study on this chapter.

I’ll post this introduction and hopefully be back to start the study on Chapter 18 soon.

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