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March 24, 2010



"This matters, as it’s likely that once government exceeds a certain size, corruption increases. Stephen Byers could not have offered his “influence”* for sale had government been so small that it didn’t affect business much."

If government was smaller, wouldn't there be less 'influence' for sale, pushing its price up?


Also spending as a % of GDP can mean many things, after all there's no theoretical reason why it can't be 150% of GDP. So perhaps 70% of GDP in which the lion's share of that is a citizen's income would be different for welfare than a more interventionist 70%.


Nice post. But on this point:

"Secondly, there’s the question: why should well-being have priority over liberty?"

I don't think there's always a straight trade off here. A state-directed reduction in Alice's holdings (i.e. tax) might result in an increase in liberty for Bob (if it curbed Alice's ability to collect rent from Bob, say) additional to any effect of state spending.

alanm crisps

One of the objections to utilitarianism has been the calculus of felicity - or dificulty of it.

If this has solved this at all we can just concern ourselves with questions of happy pigs.


Why stop at 70%? Let the State take all our income and have us all come on bended knee in front of it to supplicate for a little of it back. That presumably would result in the maximum amount of happiness, no?

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