News

Loading...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

What Has Government Ever Done for Us?

"All right, but apart from sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?"

9 comments:

  1. Romanes eunt domus

    ReplyDelete
  2. While the producers of the film were not aware of the fact, but they presented a real argument from circa 120-130 C.E.

    Now, why is he [R. Judah son of R. Ila'i] called the first speaker on all occasions? — For R. Judah, R. Jose, and R. Simeon were sitting, and Judah, a son of proselytes, was sitting near them. R. Judah commenced [the discussion] by observing, 'How fine are the works of this people!15 They have made streets, they have built bridges, they have erected baths.' R. Jose was silent. R. Simeon b. Yohai answered and said, 'All that they made they made for themselves; they built market-places, to set harlots in them; baths, to rejuvenate themselves; bridges, to levy tolls for them.'

    http://www.halakhah.com/shabbath/shabbath_33.html#PARTb

    Ocassionaly (or not) , the same story proposes the identity of the first man to invent inderect exchange:
    and Jacob came whole35 [to the city of Shechem],36 which Rab interpreted. Bodily whole [sound], financially whole, and whole in his learning. And he was gracious to the city.,37 Rab said: He instituted coinage for them.38 Samuel said: He instituted markets for them

    ReplyDelete
  3. Alright, but apart from food rations, grain production, nuclear armament, internal security, containment of the Orthodox Church, international representation, and liquidation of the kulaks, what has the Soviet Communist Party ever done for us?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Silas beat me to the punch although I was going to leave it at "nourishment" cause I thought that would ahve been enough to get the point across.

    ReplyDelete
  5. So, Silas and Avram, you both believe that if someone thinks that *sometimes, some governments have done some good things*, they also must be *at all times all governments have done only good things*!

    ReplyDelete
  6. No, I think that *any* government providing say "sanitation" does about as good job of providing that as it does providing bread.

    i.e. a terrible job.

    Also I liked your long blog posts on ex post vs ex ante reasoning as applied to economic exchange and I have no qualms with the general conclusion that "the government is able to produce wealth"

    However I do have some qualms in you thinking that the amount of wealth it produces can be calculated through some kind of cost benefit analysis, and would like to point out that all economic calculation ( i.e. price forming calculation ) is ex ante based.

    ReplyDelete
  7. No, I'm claiming that if you're not careful, you can find yourself "thanking" a particular government for stuff that long preceded it, that is woefully inferior to what you could have gotten with out it, or that you don't want in the first place.

    And depending on how brutal that government is, it can be one heckuva survival strategy!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ok, Silas, a very valid point. Governments have certainly done lots of bad shit, and people have given them credit where it wasn't due!

    ReplyDelete
  9. "However I do have some qualms in you thinking that the amount of wealth it produces can be calculated through some kind of cost benefit analysis, and would like to point out that all economic calculation ( i.e. price forming calculation ) is ex ante based."

    Yes, well, I very explicitly addressed the ex ante versus ex post distinction in my original post. Can you look to that for your comments?

    ReplyDelete