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The four functions of government

30 September, 2015 - 16:20

The belief that all involuntary associations are bad is hard to refute. For most people the general undesirability of private-involuntary associations (robber-victim, air polluter-victim) and of compound-involuntary ones (the Nazi extermination campaign against Jews, military conscription, arbitrary economic regulations) is implicit in the examples we have adduced. One is tempted to tidy things up and conclude that public-involuntary associations are bad too. Before jumping to rash conclusions, however, let us think briefly about four functions or services provided by government:

  1. minimizing private sanctions
  2. facilitating private-voluntary associations
  3. allocating scarce natural resources
  4. protecting citizens from other governments