The Peculiar Business of Politics

To be successful, political enterprises must raise sufficient revenue to return profits to investors. Those profits are disguised through indirect transactions and ideological formulations, but are profits all the same. There is thus a simple explanation for why political enterprises grow relative to commercial enterprises: they grow because they offer higher returns to relevant investors than what those investors could obtain through commercial enterprises.

Whether the reach of government can be stopped and even reversed is an open question that awaits future observation. There is very little that governments do that cannot be accomplished through nongovernmental action, though with different distributional consequences and with different people occupying positions of honor.

Identifying economics as a genuine social science, and politics as a peculiar form of commercial enterprise, will contribute to the emergence of a better appreciation of the constitution of liberty we once had, relative to the constitution of servility that has been growing over the past century or so.

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