"It is easier to find people fit to govern themselves than people to govern others. Every man is the best, the most responsible, judge of his own advantage." ~~Lord Acton
POM nations always have government. One would even be tempted to say that a
society without a government cannot be a nation at all. But that is the case
today and has been throughout recorded history (many thousands of years) for
societies which use a POM (a physical object money).
Would a society whose money comes into existence when earned and ceases to
exist when spent (non-POM) have to have a government? Of course, that depends
upon what one means by the word "government."
Referring to my dictionary, the most appropriate definition I can find is
5 a: the organization, machinery, or agency through which a political unit
exercises authority and performs functions and which is usually classified
according to the distribution of power within it.
But there is also 5 b which could be considered:
5b: the complex of political institutions, laws, and customs through which
the function of governing is carried out in a specific political unit.
[The term "govern" (from 5b) is defined as "to exercise continuous
sovereign authority over; especially: to control and direct the making and
administration of policy in."]
In a POM nation that authority comes from the control of force, that is, if
you don't do what they say they can hurt or kill you. The military and police
are the instruments by which this force is organized. These parts of government
play their roles in the expectation of being paid for their services. There
has never been a government in which the military and police were not paid
by the "sovereign authority" whether that authority was an individual
(king, despot, ruler) or group (the Roman Senate) or legislative body (the
Obviously, the functions of police and the military will be necessary for
a non-POM nation even as it is for POM nations. The police and military of
a non-POM nation will have to be paid. They will be paid by an organization,
the Payers organization (read Invisible
Hand for a complete description and explanation of the payer organization).
But does that organization constitute a government? Does it "control and
Does it "exercise authority"?
The payer organization does not control nor direct nor exercise authority.
Each payer only pays after the fact. Each pays only for the consequences of
the actions of individuals. Payers give no direction. They give no orders.
They tell no one what to do. The Payers only respond they do not initiate.
The Payers have no authority to tell anyone what to do, not even each other.
The Payers have no power to punish. There would be millions of Payers in an
economy the size of the United States and each would be independent, making
up her own mind about whom to pay and how much to pay them. (Since most Payers
would be old, there will probably be more female Payers than male.)
What about the "organization" or "machinery through which a
political unit exercises authority and performs functions"? We have already
indicated above that those who perform the military and police functions would
be paid for doing so but not controlled by those who pay them. The same would
also be true for any other actions by individuals which accomplish those functions
of government which produce benefits. The criminal justice system (beyond the
police), for example, would be paid for their actions if those actions result
in net benefit. Judges would be paid based on the consequences of their
decisions, not on whether their decisions matched the law. The same is true for all the
other roles individuals play in law enforcement. It will no longer matter
what the law is since the law is neither an excuse nor a justification for
any actions. All that will matter is the consequences of one's actions.
Therefore, the government will have very little to do. There will be no laws
to pass concerning human behavior since such laws would not be enforced unless
their enforcement brought benefits. But laws would also be unnecessary since
if the behavior they require brought benefits then people would already be
motivated to act that way. If they behavior they prohibited caused damage,
the behavior would already cost those who did these acts money. Plus, others
would already be trying to prevent those actions even without the law. The
government would have and spend no money at all (and not tax at all) so there
would be no appropriations bills. Various Cabinet posts and their entire departments
could cease to exist. There might be something for the Secretary of State to
do but little for the others. About the only role remaining for government
officials would be to represent the nation in relations with the governments
of other nations.
In many respects one might even consider the result "anarchy." But
that term merits definition since it is used in many ways. The definition which
fits best for this situation is "absence of government." (That's
also from my dictionary.) There would be no disorder since disorder would cost
a lot of people a lot of money. No one gets paid for chaos.
Another definition of anarchy is "a utopian society having no government
and made up of individuals who enjoy complete freedom." That comes near
the situation except for that word "utopian." The
non-POM society would by no means be a utopia. There will always be plenty
of problems to address and difficulties to overcome. Mother Nature will see
to that even if people
get along with each other much better. But since a non-POM society would have
almost no government and since the individuals of that society would not be
constrained by law or the government, one could say they "enjoyed complete
freedom." Always bearing in mind that behaving irresponsibly would at
least cost those individuals income they might otherwise have gained and at
most the revocation of that cherished freedom.
My conclusion is that shortly after the adoption of a non-POM, a nation would
experience rapid withering away of that bureaucracy which we now call government,
while at the same time the functions of government would be performed far
better and more dependably than ever. The whole idea of a
government as a controlling or directing agency will come to seem strange and
"The proper functions of a government fall into three broad categories, all of them involving the issues of physical force and the protection of men’s rights: the police, to protect men from criminals—the armed services, to protect men from foreign invaders—the law courts, to settle disputes among men according to objective laws.
These three categories involve many corollary and derivative issues—and their implementation in practice, in the form of specific legislation, is enormously complex. It belongs to the field of a special science: the philosophy of law. Many errors and many disagreements are possible in the field of implementation, but what is essential here is the principle to be implemented: the principle that the purpose of law and of government is the protection of individual rights.
Today, this principle is forgotten, ignored and evaded. The result is the present state of the world, with mankind’s retrogression to the lawlessness of absolutist tyranny, to the primitive savagery of rule by brute force."
"In unthinking protest against this trend, some people are raising the question of whether government as such is evil by nature and whether anarchy is the ideal social system. Anarchy, as a political concept, is a naive floating abstraction: for all the reasons discussed above, a society without an organized government would be at the mercy of the first criminal who came along and who would precipitate it into the chaos of gang warfare. But the possibility of human immorality is not the only objection to anarchy: even a society whose every member were fully rational and faultlessly moral, could not function in a state of anarchy: it is the need of objective laws and of an arbiter for honest disagreements among men that necessitates the establishment of a government."
~~Ayn Rand, from The Nature of Government
"Governments tend not to solve problems, only to rearrange them." ~~Ronald Reagan
"A government can be compared to our lungs. Our lungs are best when we don't realize they are helping us breathe. It is when we are constantly aware of our lungs that we know they have come down with an illness." ~~Lao-Tzu
"When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny." ~~Thomas Jefferson
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