catallaxy files

catallaxy in technical exile

Classical liberal vs social democrat worldviews, part 2

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Last September I suggested that while social democrats and classical liberals may not always be miles apart on pragmatic policy questions, there are some very different underlying assumptions, as revealed in the social democratic assumption that tax cuts are giving back ‘public’ money. Of course social democrats do not want to take so much of our money for entirely perverse reasons. Indeed the implicit assumption that all money is the government’s and they generously allow us to keep some of it is the corollary of the implicit assumption that most problems are also the government’s, and naturally fixing them is very expensive. This kind of thinking was evident in a story The Age published today about how the August census will include a question on unpaid work. This prompted Carers Australia president Ben Chodziesner to say that

the estimated 2.5 million unpaid carers saved the Federal Government about $30 billion a year.

That’s right, caring for each other is actually the federal government’s reponsibility, and volunteering to do it out of love, duty, sympathy or charity is saving them money they really ought to be spending.

OK, OK, I am being a bit unfair here. Chodziesner is hardly against carers, and many of them probably could do with a hand. But the implict idea that any government is responsible for all of what carers do is one that, as a classical liberal, I find very troubling – not only because it is has helped create the pervasive state we see today, but also because it can squeeze out the virtues realised or developed through voluntary activity.


Written by Admin

February 26, 2006 at 9:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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