Politics What in your view should be the goal of government?

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TheBrownDog
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You often here the question is the government doing well or poorly? But how do we evaluate this if no one ever defines the goal of government? the former is an impossible question to answer without an answer to the latter.

Before we can figure out what policies governments should employ we need to define their goal.

i take a utilitarian view. The goal of government is to maximise the average happiness of its citizens. For this reason I believe strongly in :
  • human rights,
  • some level of welfare redistribution away from those who are more successful to those that are less successful (because the marginal utility of wealth declines over time),
  • employing policies to create a world of equal opportunity (banning private schooling, free uni education, financial support for children in low income families)
  • free markets/private capital ownership (with constraints) to provide hope, fairness and sources of creativity and wealth creation,
  • a society that openly encourages criticism (so that we can constantly remind ourselves why things are the way they are and find new avenues for improvement)
  • significant government funding for R and D (to make society wealthier and improve standards of living).

now there are many other potential goals of government. You could take the Rawlsian approach and believe the goal of government is to maximise the utility of the worst off person, you could take the libertarian approach and believe the goal of government is to maximise freedom, you could be religious and believe the goal of government is to enforce some Gods moral laws on its population, you could be like Hitler and believe the goal of government is to enable one race or subset of people to prosper above all others, or you could believe the goal of government is create equality of outcome?

what do you personally believe is the goal of government and what are policy implications that result from that belief?
 

kranky al

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Agree with most of that.

id add: ensure that there is a significant disincentive for corruption. Corruption is a societal cancer. Ensure that the punishments for corruption are so excessively harsh as to be deterrent. Enforce them mercilessly.
 

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TheBrownDog
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Agree with most of that.

id add: ensure that there is a significant disincentive for corruption. Corruption is a societal cancer. Ensure that the punishments for corruption are so excessively harsh as to be deterrent. Enforce them mercilessly.
A strong rule of law that is enforced by those seperate from those who govern and applied to those who govern is critical.
 

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sataris

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1. To pass wealth from the many to the few.

Sometimes this is good, (NDIS, Social programs etc).

Sometimes this is bad (Pork Barreling, corruption).

2. Maintain a monopoly on violence (need this for #1).
 

Gethelred

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Jeez Seeds, it's only round 3!

Save some of your better ideas for a little later in the season when you're going to be bored.
 

evolved2

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  • Stewardship of the public purse towards the will of the public.
  • Governance for all citizens
  • Accountability to the public
  • Provide a vision, bring it to the electorate, then aim to fulfill the vision once elected.
  • Provide adequate resources to ensure disadvantaged AFL teams, like Essendon, can win premierships.
 

mr bagcroft

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Cheaper hookers, legal coke.
No one gets out of here alive and we are all going to hell anyway..
 

Present Not Past

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No-one's mentioned Defence, so I will.
Raise and maintain 3 arms of defence forces in this order of importance for Australia:
Navy
Air Force
Army
 

Present Not Past

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I'll also throw in overseas trade, foreign diplomacy and immigration.
None of these things, including Defence, should be left to commercial enterprises.
 

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Gethelred

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The continued existence of the people, the collective society it governs, and the preservation of culture and identity.

As such, ideologies can be allowed to dominate and/or wane provided they don't seek to overcome or override other ideologies; neoliberalism - for example - has been allowed to dominate over society for essentially the past 50 years, but is on the edge of being rejected out of concerns it puts the continued existence of the people and society at risk. Multiculturalsim is thus protected and enshrined, but remains a tension point as some cultures do not play as well with others as others do.

It's actually rather interesting, as the above implies - given that this serves as a marriage between a liberal notion of negative freedom and conservative notions of societal/cultural protectionism - that I'm a good deal less progressive than I think I am in terms of broader goals for government.

Hmmm....
 

nut

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You often here the question is the government doing well or poorly? But how do we evaluate this if no one ever defines the goal of government? the former is an impossible question to answer without an answer to the latter.

Before we can figure out what policies governments should employ we need to define their goal.

i take a utilitarian view. The goal of government is to maximise the average happiness of its citizens. For this reason I believe strongly in :
  • human rights,
  • some level of welfare redistribution away from those who are more successful to those that are less successful (because the marginal utility of wealth declines over time),
  • employing policies to create a world of equal opportunity (banning private schooling, free uni education, financial support for children in low income families)
  • free markets/private capital ownership (with constraints) to provide hope, fairness and sources of creativity and wealth creation,
  • a society that openly encourages criticism (so that we can constantly remind ourselves why things are the way they are and find new avenues for improvement)
  • significant government funding for R and D (to make society wealthier and improve standards of living).

now there are many other potential goals of government. You could take the Rawlsian approach and believe the goal of government is to maximise the utility of the worst off person, you could take the libertarian approach and believe the goal of government is to maximise freedom, you could be religious and believe the goal of government is to enforce some Gods moral laws on its population, you could be like Hitler and believe the goal of government is to enable one race or subset of people to prosper above all others, or you could believe the goal of government is create equality of outcome?

what do you personally believe is the goal of government and what are policy implications that result from that belief?

Nordic model
 

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TheBrownDog
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Nordic model
The nordic model is the closest approach we have in the real world to one that is consistent with utilitarian goal. The average happiness of nordic countries are higher then anywhere else in the world. Although i still think it can be improved upon because they still dont clearly state the goal. Its still too pragmatic.
 
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Todman

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You often here the question is the government doing well or poorly? But how do we evaluate this if no one ever defines the goal of government? the former is an impossible question to answer without an answer to the latter.

Before we can figure out what policies governments should employ we need to define their goal.

i take a utilitarian view. The goal of government is to maximise the average happiness of its citizens. For this reason I believe strongly in :
Put the whole country on Prozac.
 

Seeds

TheBrownDog
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I think that's your Happy pill approach, Seeds.

if it didnt have side effects making them free and encouraging their widespread use would be a very effective utilitarian policy. More works on reducing unhappiness then actually boosting happiness but extremely effective at that side of the equation. Pity about the side effects though.
 

Mofra

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The nordic model is the closest approach we have in the real world to one that is consistent with utilitarian goal. The average happiness of nordic countries are higher then anywhere else in the world. Although i still think it can be improved upon because they still dont clearly state the goal. Its still too pragmatic.
The Nordic model generally includes the all-important 'do no harm' principle proposed by the earlier proponents of western utilitarianism (JS Mill), which I fear can be eroded under certain government models.

Of course, I'm sure some will argue we follow Bhutan instead
 

nut

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It all starts with a bill of rights and a focus on human rights, which underpins most of its policies.

There are cultural and corporate influences that will see a Nordic model never successful in Aus.
Imagine the Herald sun advocating governments to be soft on crime?
 
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Partridge

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I'll bow to the superior wisdom of Sir Humphrey Appleby:

"Government is not about morality, it is about stability; keeping things going, preventing anarchy, stopping society falling to bits. Still being here tomorrow."

That's pretty much it.
 

Cap

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Making the country better as a whole by focusing on Health, education, at least a basic level of Human decency and security.
 

Seeds

TheBrownDog
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I'll bow to the superior wisdom of Sir Humphrey Appleby:

"Government is not about morality, it is about stability; keeping things going, preventing anarchy, stopping society falling to bits. Still being here tomorrow."

That's pretty much it.
and where would society be if this view was taken in 1500 and government was monachies that provided no government services bar tax collectors and roving militia?
 

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