Monday, April 21, 2014

Why Government Grows, and How to Reverse It

Richard Ebeling emails:

Dear Bob:

I have a new article on the news and commentary website, "EpicTimes" on "Why Government Grows, and How to Reverse It."

I explain that, as the Public Choice theorists have argued, the political arena is one in which politicians, bureaucrats, and special interest groups interact in their respective self-interests to plunder and paternalistically control others in society.

The bias toward political plunder and anti-free market governmental policies, I suggest, is related to a perverse element in the very nature of the division of labor that makes too many people more interested in protecting from competition their role as a producer than defending the gains that competition provides everyone in their role as a consumer.

I then argue that in the long-run the continuing trend toward bigger and more plundering government requires a change in the ideas and attitudes with which people approach the question about role of government in society. It is a difficult but not an impossible change.

Best wishes,

Richard Ebeling is author of The Failure of America's Foreign Wars and Austrian Theory of the Trade Cycle and Other Essays


  1. A very good article, especially the first part explaining public choice theory. But then instead of following the reason and evidence to the logical conclusion that the state cannot exist, as it is evil and will always grow (due to public choice theory), and thus anarchy is the only just way to go, it turns to a notion of minarchy.


    1. If you reached a logical conclusion that the state cannot exist you started with a false premise because the state does exist and it will continue to exist.

    2. As usual, Jerry, you're being either disingenuous or dense. Clearly Onlooker is describing the moral argument for why the state should not exist, based on the premises detailed in Ebeling's essay. It's a non sequitur to assert that the state's current existence falsifies those premises.

    3. Jerry, you attempting to teach someone logic is the height of absurdity. Yes, the state exists but logically speaking it need not necessarily exist.

      Having said this, I, for one, hope and pray it doesn't last much longer.

    4. Wolfgang, you pedantic dumb s***. "the state" a just a figure of speech for certain behavior of some people who call their antics government.

  2. Well, I'm pleasantly surprised. I thought the article would be superficial. Each theme is very well presented. It does stop short of a plan, with the vague (paraphrasing) "If enough of us take on this task..of encouraging people to think in terms of individual rights...." the growth in government can be both halted and reversed.