Friday, February 04, 2011

In Government, Less Is More

Sounds simplistic, eh? But there's some sound logic here, and it calls to mind the Principle of Subsidiarity, which (essentially) posits that problems should be resolved at the lowest-possible level of governance.

...We have more debt, more unemployment, and less happiness in this country now because hope and change turn out to be discord and confusion. And there’s no way that you can stop that. You cannot stop the blunders of one government program by putting another one on top of it.

That’s what I learned in Yale Law School. You don’t like what the minimum wage does, you create a welfare program. You don’t like what a welfare program does, you have a back-to-work program. If you just got rid of the minimum wage, you’d get rid of three programs and you’d free up lots of economies. Mies van der Rohe was essentially a political theorist when he said “less is more.” --Richard Epstein/Reason Magazine, quoted at AOSHQ

If you take a look at the AOSHQ link, you'll see a longer Q&A out-take which gets some sympathy from me. Epstein refers to the "Too Big to Fail" banks (disparagingly) and uses them as an analogue to Big Government.

That "big ain't necessarily good" philosophy has been tried in business and is remarkably successful. There is a Fortune 100 manufacturing company out there which, as corporate policy, demands that its manufacturing plants NOT EVER exceed 100 employees. That Company makes money every year--and a lot of it.

You don't have to look too far in Gummints to see the deleterious effect of "big."

MPS, anyone? DNR?

Yes, there is such a thing as "economy of scale." But there is also a tipping point.

It's entirely possible that the Walker Administration will be probing for that 'tipping point,' as will the (R) House of Representatives. And it's a debate well worth having.

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