EDITORIAL: Government is a Creep

by Benjamin Marks, Capitalism.HK and Economics.org.au editor

Last issue, with our cover story on “Hong Kong’s Coming Slavery,” we saw how each government intervention leads to justifications for further interventions. One example Herbert Spencer gave was how it is impossible to have any principled objection to forcefeeding the bodies of children, if you think it is right to forcefeed their minds through compulsory attendance laws, compulsory curriculum laws, compulsory financing laws and compulsory teacher training laws. There is no place for government schooling in a capitalist society, same as there is no place for a monopoly supplier of food, especially one that forces itself on the population.

In Australia we can see an example of this government creep playing out in the mining sector, with those who have accepted that all resources are government property and are merely licensed to private prospectors and capitalists. I cannot find anyone in the Australian mining industry who has not conceded this starting principle, this foundational platform, to the government. I am not so cruel as to say the mining industry deserves what’s coming to them, but how long do they want to wait before they put forward a positive explanation of the justice and beneficence of mining, rather than continue compromising with the extremists who believe that the resources are government property?

How do you prevent creeps from harrassing you?

Firstly, don’t go down a dark alley where they are likely to pounce on you, which is precisely what wandering down the road of government ownership of resources amounts to.

Secondly, don’t do things alone, which is precisely what all these private negotiations with government amount to.

Thirdly, don’t make yourself into a small, apologetic and easy target just so that you do not make yourself into an unashamedly big target who refuses to budge. In other words, don’t concede their legitimacy, and proudly explain why you do not consider them legitimate. The current long-running Australian mining industry advertising campaign plays into the hands of the enemies of mining by focussing primarily on the fact that they give money to charities. Why would the mining industry avoid focussing on how useful the resources themselves are!?

Fourthly, don’t entrust someone you have no reason to trust with any responsibility for your projects, as some mining projects do by asking for government investment.

In other words, don’t provoke them by making it easy to attack you, which the previous four points do.

Such phrases as “mission creep,” “scope creep” and “bracket creep” are in common usage; “government creep,” “creepy government” and “government is a creep” deserves to join them.

About Editor

Editor of Capitalism.HK

Posted on July 19, 2012, in Marks and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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