The Difficulty of Limiting Power in a Society With Minimal Regulation

I believe the problem is that you want a cake and eat it too. You want a minimum of control and power by government while at the same time you want the rich to not be able to use their wealth to gain power and influence.

This is a contradiction. If you try to create a society where the influence of the rich is limited, you end up with what you may call a social democracy, not a libertarian state.

No society wants regulation to grow unbounded. If there was a simple way of accomplishing that, somebody would already have figured it out. Reality is that society is always in a state of change, which requires laws and regulations to change.

Regulation is not something which can be measured along a single axis. It is not such that you can distinguish a big government from a small one by merely looking at the number of laws and regulations. E.g. the US has far more complex laws and regulations than say Norway, despite the latter being closer to what libertarians would call “big government.” American tax code e.g. is probably 10 times as big as the Norwegian one. American health care regulation is far more complex than Norwegian, despite Norway having a public health care system. You can see the same in China, the stereotype of big government. Corporate law tends to be significantly simpler in China than in the US, according the articles I’ve read.

Thus changing regulation to benefit the rich, cannot be judged in terms of how many paragraphs of regulation it adds to the law books. A law benefiting the rich may even reduce the number of regulations.

To achieve what you want, one would need unchangable laws. However that would be very inflexible and deprive people of the right to change the system that governs them. You are essentially insisting on a dictatorship to maintain a libertarian state. And even if laws for some reason could not be changed, that would be no gurantee that the rich could not wield immense political influence. The written laws and practiced law is ideally the same, but seldom are. In China e.g. you would be deemed a radical if you insist on following the constitution. You need to look no further than Trump’s America to see how the spirit of the law is abused. You don’t need to actually change the law. You can as Trump, simply fill the executive branch with billionaires and cronies to advance your agenda.

Sure in the “dice-roll” you will have winners and losers, but that’s life.

War, conflict and disease is also life, but that does not mean we should not seek to minimize it.

I would argue that there is no system that will not have “rich” or “poor”, as those terms are relative.

And there is no society without conflict, but again why not seek to minimize the problem? This is a question of magnitude. We can have a system where poverty is a moderate problem or one where it is endemic, alternatively one where a rich oligarchy rules.

Poor in the U.S. is considerable better off than places not too far away with seemingly more governmental controls.

I would have rather highlight the fact that the US has an unusually big poverty problem for a country of the level of development and prosperity as the US. The condition of those at the bottom in the US is markedly worse than in most other western democracies. No other country on the whole planet imprisons as large portion of its population. Few other developed countries have such a large homeless population, and poor access to health care for the poor.

A country as advance and rich as the US, should be shooting for the stars not be satisfied with beating banana republics on poverty.

Poverty is indeed a relative term, which is why one cannot compare the poor of different countries directly. The hardship of poverty is in relation to what the norm of your society is. My mother would have been poor when she grew up by modern Norwegian standards but did not feel poor back then. She was in fact very happy with her childhood. That is because the general standard of living was different.

Geek dad, living in Oslo, Norway with passion for UX, Julia programming, science, teaching, reading and writing.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store