12 September 2011

Cultivating tastes

It is not enough to replace government functions with civil society and mutual aid, we must figure out how to resist the encroachments of government that invariably break down the element of gift exchange in the transactions. 
Government intervention serves to break the chain of tradition, of traditing, by introducing coersion into the scenario. By exercising police power and taxation power the government also eliminates the possibility of gratitude. 
Both the market and the government have the advantage of large scale. The trouble with large scale is that it tends to favor the extractive. Both the markets and the governments favor the extractive by virtue of their advantage in the large scale.  
It is no good for government to provide public services unless the general public is also involved in its administration and delivery. Public goods must have a zone within the public sphere wherein they can be properly appreciated. Unless the public goods are seen as gifts for which the public ought to be grateful the delivery of those goods will be subject to corruption and degeneracy. 
The difference between the market and government on the one hand and civil society on the other is that neither markets nor governments require the education and training of the public. Markets and government work even when the public has not cultivated proper tastes for appreciating and for offering thanks for what the markets or governments provided. 
Civil society is more about the cultivation of the tastes than it is about the provision of the goods and services. 

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