Would the market provide if the government didn’t?

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Pick a function of government.  What if the government didn’t do it?  Would that function cease to exist?  Should it cease to exist?

“What about the roads” is the usual statement presented by pro-government people when arguing with a more liberty-minded individual.  Another comeback is the “I bet you like clean drinking water; you wouldn’t have that without the government.”

So if the government didn’t ensure that drinking water is clean and good to drink, would we get dirty water?

To answer that question, answer this question: “Do you want clean drinking water?”  Of course you do.  So does everyone else.  It’s like any other product in the market.  The market will typically provide the products that people want, which includes products that won’t harm them.  If people don’t like the quality of a product, they’re not going to purchase it.

And what purpose would it serve a water company in a free market to make bad drinking water?  Yes, not properly cleaning and purifying the water would likely make it cheaper to produce.  But what about consumer confidence?  It’s not exactly likely to be there.  For any cost savings they might get, it’s really not worth the loss of sales.  And if they’re claiming that the water is safe, they’re committing fraud and would be subject to quite a few lawsuits to pay for refunds as well as any damages.

Like any industry, it’s not good for business if you kill your customers.  You want them to keep coming back and purchasing your products.  So yes, the guy sitting at his mahogany desk with a monocle might not care one bit about you personally, but he understands that dead people can’t make him more money.

In general, if people want a product or service, as long as it’s possible to create the supply, people are going to get it whether government provides it or not.

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ISM Group, Inc.
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[…] let me tackle the most obvious part.  Like my article about government keeping the water clean, does anyone actually think that if left to our own devices we’d starve ourselves to death?  […]

lance
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How about the court house? You see a way that could be successfully privatized? Or, if you started one, and I started another, would we each need our own police force too? If your court found someone guilty of treason, and my court exonerated them, what next? Really the solution is probably clearer than we think. As it stands, government employees make 100K + while private sector jobs make about half that. the solution to solving problems for those in poverty is to get a government job. Or, if we worked for the government, we’d effectively double our income. You… Read more »
lance
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*if we ALL worked for the government, we’d effectively double our income.

Rollo McFloogle
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Here’s a great video talking about private courts and police. I think it will answer your questions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTYkdEU_B4o&feature=g-hist

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