Root Causes and Secondary Effects

The government is good at one thing. It knows how to break your legs, and then hand you a crutch and say, “See if it weren’t for the government, you wouldn’t be able to walk”. – Harry Browne

The hallmark of well-intentioned statists (Republicans and Democrats) is seeing only direct causes and effects, but ignoring root causes and secondary effects. For almost every problem we see in humanity, you can usually trace it back to governments being the root cause of its exacerbation. This doesn’t mean that no government equals no human problems, it just means that these problems won’t grow as large and frequent. Freedom offers self-corrective mechanisms.

3 thoughts on “Root Causes and Secondary Effects

  1. Can you give a couple of examples of a problem that humanity faces that was caused by the government? Can you think of any problems that weren’t caused by a government add we see them today?

    • Example 1. Unemployment and severe poverty: The government often attempts to reduce unemployment and severe poverty through various assistance and stimulus programs. But, much (not all) of this is caused by the government in the first place. The minimum wage laws (here) increase unemployment. Besides the direct effects from the minimum wage laws, they also push businesses overseas where they can find cheaper labor, which again increases unemployment here. Many of the overbearing regulations and employer requirements to provide various benefits to employees greatly increase the cost of business. This also pushes businesses and manufacturers to other countries where they can reduce costs, leading to more unemployment.

      Example 2. Great Depression. The government caused the bubble that crashed, which caused the would-be recession, and then the government’s improper response turned the would-be recession into a Great Depression. Also, the government caused the 2008 Financial crisis (see here).

      As for “problems that weren’t caused by a government, and we see them today”: paper cuts 🙂 Even in a libertarian society, it would be possible to get paper cuts. The government didn’t create that problem (although, maybe that’s a bad example, since government regulation and bureaucracy leads to more administrative work and thicker contracts and more paper work in general, leading to many more paper cuts than would be without a government?). OK, I’ll say, snake bites as my example of a problem that I don’t blame the government for. But, more seriously, I’ll say cancer. I don’t blame the government for the existence of cancer.

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