The Sensible Knave

"I do not see that we are further along today than where Hume left us. The Humean predicament is the human predicament." - W.V.O. Quine

Friday, October 28, 2005

The Virtue of the Private Sector

Pejman says:

[T]hose who regularly preach about the ability of the government to do good seem to forget that at times, government can do a great deal of evil as well. The private sector may strike some as cold and impersonal and perhaps it responds to common notions of morality simply in order to make money. But it does respond to common notions of morality at least for fear of driving away business and losing money. And the ability of the populace to affect the actions of the private sector is far more powerful and manifests itself far more quickly than the ability of the populace to affect the actions of government. Sure, you can throw out elected officials, but that is exceedingly difficult to do. And then there is the bureaucracy--the permanent civil service--to deal with. They aren't subject to elections, you know.

Short answer: You have significant amounts of leverage over the private sector. You have significantly less over government since a large portion of government is simply unresponsive to the electorate. I'm not for abolishing government. But in the end, which sector is going to be most responsive to your concerns? The Post Office won't blink if you take away your patronage--they still get their money from the appropriations process and don't care about pleasing you. But Federal Express and UPS will move Heaven and Earth to make you happy. Curiously, there is nothing in the federal budget providing for them.