Government vs. Markets

Mark Chen chen at
Wed Oct 5 15:54:33 PDT 1994

Ray writes:
> Tim May writes:
> > Government standards are a two-edged sword. Many of us would prefer to
> > "opt out" of their idea of what's healthy and safe and what's not.
>    Are you crazy? If you were allowed to opt out of government
> standards and eat what you want, you'd be driving up healthcare
> costs! That's unfair to your brothers and sisters! The government
> will stop you anyway by requiring everyone to have quarterly checkups
> and then have the medical records of people with unhealthy lifestyles
> sent to them. If you refuse, you won't get to be in the government
> healthcare system, which is only fair since you're driving up
> everyone else's costs like a sociopath.

It would be helpful if we could define the word "government."  Is a
government any organization of people, or is it any organization
wherein some people hold coercive power over others?  In either case,
how are corporations different from governments?  If it is argued that
corporations are different because, as an employee of a corporation, I
am free to terminate my employment contract and to enter a contract
with a different corporation, then it can also be argued that, as a
citizen of the U.S., I am free to terminate my citizenship and assume
citizenship in another country.

In large measure, privatization really amounts to nothing more than
removing programs from the incompetent, technocratic control of state
bureaucracies and submitting them to the incompetent, totalitarian
control of business.  There is no question but that our government
works very poorly by any standard; I just don't see the argument for
privatization as being an argument between statism and anarchism
(Bakunin would agree :}).  It is, rather, merely an argument between
two different, equally decrepit organizational precepts.

Mark Chen 
chen at
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