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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 5 of the 2015 Matthew Dale translation of Weiying Zhang’s superb 2010 book, The Logic of the Market (original emphasis):

Today only one organization in the world legally does not have to make others happy but can be happy on its own. That organization is government. Government receives revenues through taxes. Taxes are forced, not voluntary, because the government has the power to collect taxes forcefully. Even if in theory we require government to serve the people and to provide public goods to citizens, we have no way of guaranteeing that the taxes collected by the government are not higher than the value of the public goods provided while serving the people. In fact, taxes collected by government often exceed the value of services provided.

DBx: A common response to the argument above is that majoritarian democracy generally ensures against such abuses by government. Those who offer this response have only a third-grader’s understanding of democracy – an understanding that reflects complete ignorance of public choice and social-choice theory. This understanding also reflects an unjustified romance about the changeability of human nature – namely, the romantic myth that election to political office typically transforms those so elected into public-spirited, and highly informed, stewards of the public welfare.


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