Government’s Role In Society

Should government have extended or minimal control in society?  Should it regulate the markets or stay out?  In the event of disaster, such as the oil spill, should it take over or allow the company to clean it up?

These questions enter within the bounds of the “gray area.”  Generally meaning that the majority could probably be swayed one way or another depending on who’s doing the arguing.

Steve believes that government can and should provide opportunities for us to improve our lives.  Just as we would expect government to get involved if we are attacked from a foreign nation, government should treat all “enemies” the same.  Heart disease would be good start considering the 400,000 lives it claims it each year.

Free Markets?

As is, government regulates markets directly through imposition of taxes and various standards.  What if government could do it indirectly?  Instead of imposing taxes and regulations, offer the same good or service at a reasonable rate that meets certain criteria.  Either companies will comply with the public’s demand for the quality of the product, or go out of business.  This will result in innovation to meet public demand.  As the newly formed government companies become profitable, the profit then will cycle back into government or be sold off (assuming it’s to keep the company in business.)

There will be those who argue that if government is running its own company, then it isn’t a free market.  They are right, except that the public’s livelihood is more important remember.  And in those cases is where government creates its own brand.  If a company is able to efficiently provide much needed services, then there is no reason for government to be involved.

For example, we recognize that burning fossil fuels is not the future.  How do we transfer ourselves into renewable energy?  Is giving tax credits working?  If so, is it fast enough?  The straight answer is no.  So what if government started its own U.S. Solar Power Co.?  At the beginning of the company’s life cycle, it will no doubt be running at a loss.  This is due to poor investment in research and development, and/or the result of patents being held by competing industries.  However, government can afford to pay the patent fees – see the Economy page for more info – and absorb the loss until the research has improved to the point that other companies find it cost effective to enter the industry.  When this happens, we all win in that other companies will be able to compete in solar energy and U.S. Solar Co. will be returning a profit and can be sold off to private investors.

In essence, government would be absorbing the cost of research and development because quite frankly, they are the best source of the best information.  They are reported the patents on new ideas and technology, which is what is required if we are to move forward.  Those who came up with the ideas/ inventions would still be rewarded for their work and those of us requiring the service – in the above case renewable and cheap energy – would be able to afford energy that isn’t detrimental to our home planet.

The role government already has is one of leadership.  If only as an example.  Therefore, government should be the smartest and most efficient tool in our society.  It should lead the way to mutually beneficial ideas and step in when it’s in the public’s best interest.  This is the direction we are heading, it’s just that we haven’t quite figured that out yet.  It should only step in when it’s beneficial to us but stay out of our choices so as to allow us to live the lives we wish – assuming it’s not infringing on another person’s right to live their life the way they want.


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