Conservation of government

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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


  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. [ 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