“Should the government be the provider?” A relevant question that has pressed the world’s leaders for centuries. It is also a question that has many subjective answers. Some argue that the government should undoubtedly be the main provider, like much of Western Europe, while others opt for the people to provide for themselves, such as the United States. As America is a relatively new country, it is a pivotal time to determine and interpret the United States Federal Government’s place in national provision. I would argue that the structure where the people have primary responsibility for themselves is the most effective and efficient form of government. This more-narrowly defined central government (i.e. provide for common defense, monetary system and common safety) increases the quality of life, limits the corruption of government, and motivates the next generation.
When determining a place of residency, it is of utmost importance to consider the quality of life in each country. “Quality of life” is defined as many things, but in this context measures the employment situation, life expectancy, and the amount of leisure time. It was shown in an Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) study, that 11 of the 11 countries with the highest quality of life, are countries with capitalist roots and motives, or in other words, countries where the government is not the foremost provider. Many reasons could cause this correlation, but the main point is the consistency of both the capitalist and socialist government models regarding quality of life. Generally, the more dictatorial or oppressive the regime, the lower the quality of life for the population.When the government directs excessively—the people’s lives suffer.
In addition to measures of quality of life, another way to evaluate a government’s overall capability is the amount of corruption. Corruption of power—it haunts history. To provide, the government will take money and spread it as they see fit among people. While supposedly done on an equitable basis, it generally serves to keep most people equally poor and dependent. With, of course, the exception of the ruling elite who command a disproportionate share of resources and wealth. Countries like modern day Libya and communist Russia, until the early 1980’s, essentially abolished the spirit of capitalism and replaced it with a command and control economy rife with corruption. Absolute power is totalitarianism—unbridled government. Totalitarianism has ruined people, cultures, and lives. Whether it is Idi Amin, Muammar Gaddafi’s regime in Libya or even Josef Stalin in Russia (who obliterated the free market and freedom of religion) — totalitarianism never has and never will end well. The government cannot be the absolute provider.
Another reason the United States cannot embrace socialism is that this governing system eventually dismantles the motivation of its people. Think modern day Greece with its current debt crisis. The prime motivation for youth today is not really any different than earlier generations. Essentially, young Americans want the opportunity to pursue a career of their choice in a city of their choice, and to have an opportunity to maximize their own definition of quality of life. Success, in the mind of today’s youth, is balancing motivation for wealth with other life factors like career satisfaction and discretionary time. If the government regulates income, so it is spread equally, then why work? This will be demotivational for those individuals who want to pursue higher paying careers or fields. For those who do not have a strong work ethic this spreading of the wealth raises the question “Why work anyway? The government will provide.” The current European economic and currency crisis demonstrates this approach is unsustainable over generations.
Nonetheless, the government must provide for some basic needs— such as common defense and other public services. The government must keep the peace, create and interpret laws, but not be an overbearing presence.
With America almost mid-way through its third century, the brilliance of The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are seen in our nation’s stability, quality of life and economic output. Credit should be amply given to the founding fathers. They conceived a way of government to be run, so freely, yet with so much order, a democratic republic. The people are America—not the government. The people are responsible for maintaining the United States of America as it was intended to be—true capitalism and limited government influence. Our history has demonstrated it is vitally important to fight for individual economic independence and a constrained government. If we do this, the United States of America will soar to success unimaginable.
(Sources: Business Insider)