If the government operated like every other organization in society, it would have to prove that it is the best at providing services in order for people to voluntarily choose to fund it.
Why is that a preposterous idea? The government is simply an organization that funds itself by force. It has no incentive to provide its services in an efficient manner. Even if it completely fails to do so, it still receives the same amount of funding.
The way it stands, the US government would go completely bankrupt (even more so than it already is) because no rational assessment would lead to the conclusion that the government provides services in an efficient, cost-effective manner.
Would people fund wars, welfare, social security, and the DMV voluntarily? Not likely, which is why it is necessary for the government to steal our money in order to fund them.
What if you disagree with a government program? What if you think a particular war the government wants to fight is immoral? What if a government program uses your tax money to fund abortion, or something else that you disagree with? Too bad. They’re going to take your money by force, and fund those programs anyways. If you disagree, and refuse to give them your money, they’ll send men in costumes to throw you in a cage. What other business or organization has that power?
Let’s say we’ve broken the government’s monopoly up, and forced them to compete with other organizations. They can no longer force you to fund their programs and services. They have to convince people to send them money voluntarily. No one buys their inefficient services, they go bankrupt, and the public land and assets are liquidated. Then what?
A lot of people would still demand the services that our government provides right now. There will be a giant void in the market, which means that organizations will compete with each other to provide those services in the cheapest, most effective manner.
Say you’re very rich and you want to set up a private, for-profit city to compete for the markets demand for a structured society. You will have to compete with other private cities, which means you have to buy the best land, and provide the best judicial system, streets, hospitals, schools, police, and defense services in order to stay competitive.
Then you have to hire the best judges, cops, building and construction contractors, teachers, and military members who will provide the best service for the money. Any service that customers demand, you must provide at a high quality, for a low price. (Government does not have these incentives, so they do the opposite; provide the lowest quality for the highest price.)
If you think the notion of a private city is far-fetched, consider Paul Romer’s Charter Cities initiative, which “focuses on the potential for startup cities to fast track reform. By building new cities in special zones, countries can leverage the ongoing wave of urbanization, generating new options for reform-minded leaders and new choices for families in search of better places to live and work.”
You can also check out the Seasteading Institute. The Seasteading Institute “is a nonprofit 501(c)(3), working to enable seasteading communities – floating cities – which will allow the next generation of pioneers to test new ideas for government. The most successful can then inspire change in governments around the world.”
In our hypothetical scenario, you buy some of that land the government is liquidating, and set up your private city, and charge people to live there, in exchange for the services you provide.
This would mean that societies are built up around what the society itself deems best and most desirable. If people in a society demand that the environment be protected, then private ownership is the solution. People take care of land and resources they own, because it’s in their own best interest. You change the oil and take care of the vehicles you own, but you don’t change the oil in a rental car.
If society thinks it a good and desirable idea to provide charity and help for people who can’t afford to live in a private city, they can do that voluntarily as well.
Government is simply one way to provide the solutions to problems most people already want to solve anyways. It’s a fallacy to say that the environment will be destroyed, or that poor people will suffer without government. In fact, I can quickly prove that poor people would be much better off without government.
In the absence of six decades of regulations, a median annual household income would have been $330,000, instead of the current $53,000.
But who needs an extra $277,000 per year anyway when we can have free birth control and endless wars?
The “War on Poverty” was declared by President Johnson in 1964. Prior to that, the poverty rate was dropping by around 1% each year. We were only one generation away from eradicating poverty completely. Then the “War on Poverty” began. Every time the government declares a war on something, whatever they are fighting always grows exponentially:
Government is possibly the worst way to solve societies problems.
88% of American households give to charity, without being forced to do so. Even if only 50% of people in our society wanted to protect the environment, or help poor people, they could all donate a few dollars each, and solve the problem voluntarily. This was already happening prior to the start of the “War on Poverty”. Without government aid, people were solving the problem of poverty through free trade, and voluntary, peaceful means. You don’t have to force people to solve problems they already want to solve through taxation.
To further illustrate this, thanks to capitalism and free trade (not government aid), nearly 1 billion people have been taken out of extreme poverty in the last 20 years.
After years advocating for government aid to solve the problem of poverty, U2 frontman Bono was recently quoted as saying the following:
“Aid is just a stopgap,” he said. “Commerce [and] entrepreneurial capitalism take more people out of poverty than aid. We need Africa to become an economic powerhouse.”
“The above chart is from Gapminder and shows China’s per capita income growth since 1800 vs. that of the US and the UK. What happened to China toward the end of the 20th century? Well, it started doing what America and Britain began doing some 200 years earlier. China started embracing what Bono calls entrepreneurial capitalism. ”
Government Welfare programs have failed to win the “War on Poverty”, and have simply made the whole problem worse.
What if someone sets up a private city, then turns it into a dictatorship, and forces everyone within their private city to pay them?
They go out of business, and people leave to find the private city that provides the best services for the money.
The proposition that one company would force or buy out all the rest and turn the entire thing into a dictatorship is extremely unlikely, as no monopoly in history has been sustainable without the legal protection government provides to giant, monopolistic corporations.
Not to mention, military conquest is extremely costly, and the only way to sustain military conquest is through forced taxation, printing money, and borrowing. Every nation and empire that has ever existed has proven that this is not sustainable.
Violent people and organization’s are generally shunned and exiled from communities and societies since the beginning of time. If voluntaryism and peace were held up as virtues, instead of government violence, there would undoubtedly be a shift in the collective morality and ethical underpinnings of society.
The proposition that some Mad Max style roaming gang, a terrorist group, or army would raise up to pillage one of these private cities is pretty ridiculous, as I mentioned previously, military conquest is unsustainable, especially compared to peaceful exchange.
However, if this happened, the protection and defense services that the people within that city paid for would be put to the test. This is why you make sure you find the private city/organization with the best defense services.
Even “small government” conservatives hold to the belief that the military and police protection services provided by government are somewhat effective, except in the cases of murder, rape, muggings, theft, and the two big ones; Pearl Harbor and 9/11. In all of those cases, the government fails to provide the protection/defense services that it taxes you for. I believe this is why a lot of people buy guns. Gun ownership is a private sector response to the failure of public sector protective services.
Is there really anyone who prefers our current system where one government has a monopoly on these services, and forces everyone within a society to buy it from them? Do you think the government efficiently provides the services it taxes you for?
If you think that there will be a large group of people who wouldn’t be able to afford to live in a private city, consider the economic effects that all the money that the government takes by force now, and wastes (tens of trillions) would have if it is left in the pockets of citizens.
Then, consider if you would receive better services from a private company competing for customers, or from the same organization that operates the DMV.