G-20 Meeting - Unfortunate Shipping Analogies

G-20 Yawn-Fest in Istanbul

Apparently, the G-20 are meeting in Istanbul to discuss the same thing they discussed last time around, namely how assorted government minions can supposedly "create economic growth." The crucial problem with this notion is of course that they can't.

Growth is the result of entrepreneurs seeking to serve their fellow human beings by engaging in profitable business. Profits - ephemeral though they are - represent proof that a business is providing a valuable service. There is only one small caveat to this: profits that are the result of privileges bestowed by the State (whether in the form of monopoly grants, tariffs, the sanctioning of direct breaches of property rights, etc.) are an exemption from this general rule.

(click to enlarge)

Painting by Joseph Ducreux

No government anywhere makes a profit, and if one of them did produce a surplus, it would only indicate that the revenue it obtains by coercion temporarily exceeds its spending by some mistake. One might object that governments are providing services, which by their nature are unprofitable and would therefore not be available in a completely free market economy, in spite of the fact that there is broad agreement that they are desirable. This contention is however not provable. In fact, it seems rather likely that there is not a single government-provided service that could not be supplied more cheaply and more efficiently by an unhampered market economy, including judicial, policing and defense s....

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