The View From 1776

Government as the Agent of Prosperity

A reader asserts that, in the chicken-or-egg-first debate, prosperity is not possible without organization of the economy by government.

David Airth, a reader who frequently posts thought-provoking ripostes to articles appearing on this website, commented in response to AIG Employees’ Side of the Story.

He wrote, in part:

It has always been government that first establishes the favorable circumstances and the common sense in which a healthy economy can and will flourish.

The validity of Mr. Airth’s assertion depends upon how one defines a healthy economy.  If by healthy economy is meant one in which production of useful goods is maximized and individual standards of living rise significantly from generation to generation, then I do not believe one can find any such economy prior to the 17th century.  Certainly not always has Mr. Airth’s assertion been valid.

Mr. Airth also comments: