5. RESTRICTION OF GOVERNMENT FUNCTIONS
Governments ought to handle the necessary monopolies such as water, gas, electricity, etc., plus relief of hardship, and leave Education, Private Health, Banking and Airlines to the private sector, BUT private monopolies are antisocial, AND governments exist to ensure that: * All people shall have the right of equality of opportunity to apply their labour of hand or brain, directly or indirectlyto the earth - the land of their country, and * To have property rights in the product of their labour, in order to provide for the needs and desires of themselves andtheir dependants. 5: Restriction of Government Functions. Pattern for a Better World. Graham Hart
By GRAHAM HART, Georgist Education Association Inc., of Western Australia
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One of the most important considerations in the art of government is to determine what are and what are not legitimate functions of government. Governments should have no power to interfere with fundamental human rights. As we have seen, the most important of such are:-

1. That all people shall have the right of equality of opportunity to apply their labour of hand or brain, directly or indirectly to the earth - the land of their country, and

2. To have property rights in the product of their labour, in order to provide for the needs and desires of themselves and their dependants.

We have determined that private monopolies are antisocial but there are some functions in which monopolies are necessary for efficiency. It would be impracticable, for example, to have numerous competitive reticulated services for the supply of water, gas and electricity etc.

By 1886, seven years after Progress and Poverty was published, Henry George was an international celebrity. New York City's United Labor Party drafted him as their Mayoral candidate in 1886. George ran well, outpolling Theodore Roosevelt, but he lost to Abraham Hewitt, a Democrat drafted by the Tammany machine to put back the threat of George. Puck frequently lampooned George during this period. Here he is depicted hefting the Labor world, with nothing more to stand on than cloudy "theories". Henry George carrying globe 36kb
(The above cartoon and comment are by courtesy of The Henry George Institute, New York, at: http://www.henrygeorge.org/rem2.htm)

It would not be desirable for all land holders to be responsible for the construction and maintenance of the road strip passing their property. Main highways and railways are necessary monopolies.

We could not have private competitive judicial or defence systems, although private arbitration, at much lower cost, could be considered before seeking justice in the courts.

Many functions which are necessary monopolies could also be competitively contracted to private enterprise with advantage.

It is established that, subject to the foregoing, governments should be restricted to functions which, by their nature, are necessary monopolies, in which competitive private enterprise cannot function efficiently and in the national interest.

It is noted that contrary to popular belief, education, banking and private health are not necessary monopolies, neither are airline services.

Healthy competition is always desirable where possible to get the best results. These services will be separately examined.

(i) EDUCATION

Until the beginning of the fifteenth century AD education was privately administered in the United Kingdom. The Church was granted certain lands, the rents of which were used to educate the children, also to provide the skills necessary for public accounting.

Henry VIII then stole the church lands and set the pattern for his nobility to steal the remainder. These practices were progressively legalised by acts of enclosure during the following two hundred years.

The people became so impoverished by the loss of their land that they could not afford to pay to send their children to school and the public education system commenced, financed by taxation instead of land rent, as previously.

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Australia has inherited the British system. In a free and justly-governed society people could easily afford to send their children to the private school of their choice. Public education is developing into indoctrination to suit the government in power.

(ii) PRIVATE HEALTH

It is foolish to believe that private health, with the services of doctors and hospitals, can be financed to advantage by an unjust taxation system. As with education it would be more efficient and better value for competitive private enterprise to provide for all private health requirements.

This is not fully possible until all taxation and private monopolies are abolished and the locational value of land becomes the main source of public revenue. Public health, as distinct from private-health, can be handled more efficiently by governments in the prevention of epidemic diseases, and for this reason is a necessary monopoly.

(iii) BANKING

This subject is so complex that a special issue is devoted thereto, which will be the next in our series.

(iv) AIRLINES

Airlines should be privately owned, and operate competitively. They should pay the market assessed site rental charge for airfields needed for takeoff and landing, also for terminal buildings etc..

In all other respects they should operate as private enterprise. (End of section 5)

Georgists worldwide invite you to work towards a Pattern for a Better World, and study Georgist Policy,
by selecting from Graham Hart's writings: [ 2. The True Functions of Government ], [ 3. Public Revenue ],
[ 4. Taxation & Monopoly ], 5. Restriction of Government Functions, [ 6. A Private Banking System ],
[ 7. Democratic Elections ], [ 8. Phasing in Over a Period ].

Other Australian and New Zealand reformers you could contact

Universal Basic Income, NZ
Helen's Place homepage, NZ
EarthSharing, Victoria

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Bright yellow background colour on one or more of these pages by courtesy of the Banneker Center, USA.
This site was put on the WWW through finance from HGFA, the work of JCM, the advice of GANM, plus GPx2 of Multiline Internet Server mid-October 96, COMPLETED version ready 31 Oct 96, last revised on 20 Sep 05

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