James Leroy Wilson's one-man magazine.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Prisoner's Dilemma, the Market Dilemma, and the State

This is my latest at the Partial Observer. Excerpt:
In real life, neither honest nor dishonest people can discern right from wrong, because government over-spending causes inflation and speculation, and government planning and regulations cause confusion. When the government exerts force on on an individual, we can't expect that individual to be honest or dishonest, or to be good or bad. All we can expect that individual to do is to do what he can to protect his wealth and stay out of trouble. When the laws and regulations are too confusing for lawyers and the taxes too complicated for accountants, and when government controls everything from charity to forest management, we can't expect individuals to "do the right thing." Everywhere they turn, the State will be there to punish them severely for even honest mistakes.

1 comment:

  1. Because coercion is inherent in every state activity, it could be said that the state never deals in good faith. So contracts I enter into with the state, such as a drivers license for example, are frought with possible problems because so many perhiperal issues are coerced. Keeping my end of the bargain may be made difficult or impossible by other state actions beyond my control. This is just one reason I won't despise somebody for "disobeying" arbitrary state law, even if contractually negotiated. Authoritarians it seems to me are unable to understand such things.