Conservation of government

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
It doesn't stop
at the water's edge

Politics
Icon politics.svg
Theory
Practice
Philosophies
Terms
As usual
Country sections
Flag of the United States.svg
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg

Conservation of government refers to the principle that the amount of "whatever it is that government needs to do" is roughly constant for a given configuration of geography, demographics, and resources.

As a result, attempts to reduce the size of "big government" only outsource the targeted tasks to the private sector, increasing the size of private, for-profit government,[1] and/or reducing the quantity and quality of government services, having a disproportionate effect on the poor and middle class.[2] The public mind is not often enough drawn to the idea that a corporation is a government, reaching for power like any other. While a corporation is nominally accountable to any shareholders it may have, it is not accountable to the public interest. In their very charters, for-profit corporations are notably without any interest in furthering the public good.

Describing this outsourcing to the private sector as "Privateering"[3] is a way to bring public attention to the offensive nature of unjust enrichment, which may otherwise be cloaked in Tea Party terms such as "opportunity" and "deregulation."

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Lakoff, George: The Political Mind: Why You Can't Understand 21st-Century American Politics with an 18th-Century Brain, 2008, Viking, New York

References[edit]

  1. Lakoff, p. 63: 'The principle here is the "conservation of government." Deregulation and privatization do not eliminate government; they only make it unaccountable and take away its moral mission.'
  2. [https://web.archive.org/web/20190826022924/https://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-budget/trump-budget-deeply-cuts-health-housing-other-assistance-for-low-and Sharon Parrott, Aviva Aron-Dine, et al., "Trump budget deeply cuts health, housing, other assistance for low- and moderate-income families," Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Feb. 14, 2018, accessed Aug. 26, 2019.]
  3. Privateering, not Privatizing by Peter D. Moss