Disease or Cure?

Lots of folks are weighing in these days on what is wrong with our country and what is going to be necessary to fix it.  High unemployment, gridlocked political processes, aging infrastructure, Jersey Shore – there is certainly an unending stream of evidence that there are serious problems in our country.  What to do about them?  That’s a more difficult issue.  

More importantly, the issue of who is supposed to be doing something about it gets complicated.  The frequent assumption is that the government has to lead the way by creating jobs and growth and better education and incentives for people to do things.  However, it seems as though our first 150 years as a nation was primarily defined by a government that allowed people to do what they saw needed doing, and to receive compensation for doing it from other people who appreciated their efforts or wanted the end result of those efforts.  Public education was rudimentary (at least by our enlightened modern standards), college was largely off the radar for the majority of citizens.  Government has to do it, say some, because big business won’t.  
I think both these solutions are crocks.  It wasn’t government or multinational corporations that led our country to being the economic powerhouse that it is.  I find the assumption that people must be bribed or coerced into putting their creativity and abilities to work to be insulting.  I find it insulting that profits must be on a global scale to be worth supporting or investing in.  
Bigger isn’t necessarily always better, but it is always bigger.  There are opportunities both gained and lost in scaling orders of magnitude.  Funny how in discussions about how to jump start productivity, the focus is always on creating more rules and regulations, and almost never on what rules and regulations there already are that might be throttling industriousness and creativity and entrepreneurship.  What if we approached the problem by paring back regulation, rather than seeking to expand it?  
I’m getting a little verklempt.  Talk amongst yourselves – I’ll give you a topic.  What if the public good as it has been championed so frequently in recent decades is neither public nor good?

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