… is from page viii of Yes, Minister co-creator Sir Antony Jay‘s Foreword to Gordon Tullock’s and Gordon Brady’s superb 2000 monograph, Government: Whose Obedient Servant? A Primer in Public Choice:
If anything was quite irrefutably clear from our ten years’ research, it was that the public good is not the objective of government: it is a constraint. Unless their activities are perceived or believed to be in the public interest, there will be retribution, so some of their time (and all their rhetoric) has to be devoted to furthering it, or claiming to have furthered it. But as this book shows, the theory that things are better done by government officials than private citizens or companies is simply not sustainable.
DBx: If you have not seen the 1980s British television show Yes, Minister, start watching it immediately – and then watch its sequel, Yes, Prime Minister. This show, in my opinion, is the best that has ever regularly appeared on television.