It is a common cry here in the US that we need to make government smaller. But this is a flawed idea for a very simple reason: Power is money, money is power.
If a government is made significantly smaller than the largest local company, it will rapidly be taken over from the inside by one of these dominant companies. To see this in action one has only to look at the effects of large multinationals on south east asia, where the laws are written entirely to suit the multinationals.
Similarly, the current bank bailout is only practical because the US government can move larger amounts of capital than any of the banks could. (whether it will work is another issue) A government which is smaller than its largest banks can never handle a run and will most likely fall. This situation could be manufactured as a power play.
Thus, to maintain democratic control of one country, it is important that the elected government is handling large amounts of money/labour. This is counter to small government.
(This is very similar to the argument that Anarchy is unstable and tends towards feudalism: replace people with companies, and military might with monetary might)
quag: Are oil companies in africa an example of this principle? On the face of it, the argument seems sound. Do you know of others who have made this argument?
Bryce: Despotism film (and so the nation has gone.)
verbalshadow: I think you are confusing the ability to move large amounts of money with a government the uses large amounts of money and little is seen as far as public improvements of life (which is what I believe the call against big gov in the states is about). one can argue that the USA gov is big money gov, but spends the majority on things that don't directly (or sometimes with very little indirect affect as well) improve its citizens quality of life
njh: No, I'm not confusing it, small government means government with little money. This message has been repeated every time the topic has come up (why do small government proponents always talk about tax cuts?). I think you are confused about the difference between small government and sensible debate about good uses for tax money.
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I am a modern day Renaissance man with interests ranging from mathematics, through computer science and the physical sciences through to music and art, how we live in cities, and teaching problem solving.
I'm currently living in Seattle, USA.
Things people email me about regularly.
Water level sensor
Cross stitch pattern generator