This post comes as June ends and the east coast recovers from serious storm damages, power outages, and record-high temperatures all at once. My power luckily returned within twelve hours of being lost, and as such I can bring you this piece. The theme of my post here is a conclusion to my previous piece about the faults of small government seen here: http://superjewmclovin.blogspot.com/2012/06/great-fallacy-part-1-faults-of-small.html; whereas now I will be writing on the merits of large government instead of the problems with a decentralized system. And throughout this piece, I will continue to tear up the notion that “a government is best which governs least.” Let’s begin, shall we?
Now, I’m not going to argue that bigger government is always better; this is simply not true. Increased government size can lead to corruption and inefficiency if built up through improper means. Authoritarian regimes can also use the scope of a large government to help repress dissenters in their nation, and to reward loyalists with power. However, I do not plan on refuting these points in the slightest, as they are true in full. We can see the extent of strong governments through modern monarchies like Saudi Arabia, where the royalty have so much power and control through the use of an all-encompassing police force which creates an Orwellian society. And as such, I’m always nearly always happy to see dictatorships fall; while control is important in some nations, the freedom and will of a people are almost always the deciding factor of my support when it comes to choosing sides.
At the same time, a well-spread and effective government of reasonably large size is not only feasible, but beneficial to a nation. A centralized state with a certain degree of control over all national affairs may seem despotic to many, but we must consider the advent of trouble. In a decentralized nation, the regions have greater autonomy, which may make them appear freer. Yet, when disaster strikes, a decentralized state is far less prepared to mobilize national resources and to foster a solution. Here, I take for example Spain in the context of the European debt crisis. Spain is one of the most decentralized countries in the entire European Union, with multiple autonomous communities that lead to a state with large differences between regions. However, when the housing bubble burst in Spain and unemployment skyrocketed, it became increasingly difficult to negotiate the differences between regions in order to solve the crisis, leading to an unemployment rate near 20% (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/sp.html) and borrowing rates which most Americans have trouble even envisioning. While the decentralization of the Spanish state model may not be the direct cause of the initial crisis, it has played a significant role in the failure of absolution of the crisis. Spaniards scream in the street about the poor economic conditions they face, yet in the past it was they that championed the autonomy of various Spanish regions. Spain may not have directly dug its own grave through these means, but the people certainly did little to stop the crisis through centralization. In order to further prove my point, I need to look no farther than Germany for evidence of the success of a centralized state. The German nation has sought to create a unified state ever since reunification in 1990, and as such centralization has played a key role in the development of the modern German model state. And just like we all keep hearing, German economic indicators are doing far better than the Eurozone average (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gm.html), even with the west-east transfers that such a nation requires. Germany is not the only European nation to succeed in this way; Sweden is widely considered one of the most prosperous nations in all of Europe, and they also have an enormous welfare state at the same time. As such, we can see that centralized states can be wholly more prepared for fiscal crises than those with less control. They can also benefit the populace in a fully capable fashion, one which ensures equality far greater than that of the United States, which ranks a shockingly high 45.0 on the Gini Index of inequality (https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2172rank.html?countryName=United%20States&countryCode=us®ionCode=noa&rank=42#us), a rank worse than that of even Iran.
I think most of you can see my main point now; the functionality of a centralized state is more than worth the extension of federal government size. I am no Stalinist; in fact I detest the very theory and the man who fostered it. And yet, it was the authoritative grip Stalin held over the Soviet Union which allowed him to complete industrialization across Russia. Without the power he possessed, that process likely would have taken quite a bit longer, and in the context of WWII may have caused the defeat of a key ally in the war. Had Hitler not been in complete control of Nazi Germany, he never would have been able to mobilize the German war machine so effectively as to invade and temporarily take over much of Europe at the time. I hate everything about Hitler, and yet I realize the effectiveness of the way he took power. By manipulating the populace and creating an air of offensiveness on the part of Germany, he was able to create a highly dedicated and patriotic force for his purposes. I do not think anything like what he did should ever be done again, but we must realize that Hitler did know what he was doing and was more than able to give himself the position he needed for his desires.
That is all for this post, and thus I conclude this two-part essay on government size. I hope I have provided everyone with a proper analysis, and that you will walk away from this with some new thoughts about how government should be sized. If you have constructive criticism, questions, comments, or other feedback, I encourage you to comment here, anonymously if you must. If you would prefer other means of communication, my email at firstname.lastname@example.org is open for discussion, along with my Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ accounts. To my fellow bronies at Bronycon, I hope it was as amazing as I’ve heard it is. And now, I am signing off.