The Cost of Certainty

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Americans pay for certainty with both hands and with all the money they can muster up. How much certainty do they get? There is no certainty in the universe so they don’t get any at all, in terms of what is offered to them by others.

In small groups animals can enhance their chances of survival. Beavers build dams and people plow fields. Beyond those kinds of things, there is not much which can be done.

National defense is fine but is likely to cost far more lives than it saves. What people end up getting for their money are feelings of security at a very high price. The business of selling feelings of security is highly lucrative. The mere state of existing is terrifying because the state of not existing is less than one breath away, always.

The business of offering comfortable feelings to others for a price is highly lucrative. Services are offered from the strong to the weak.  O.K. there is no certainty, so what. That is not going to keep enterprising people from offering feelings of certainty to others for a high price. Not surprisingly merchants of feelings of certainty do end up enhancing their own lives by selling a perception of certainty to others.

Human beings are scared animals. The ones who are less scared  make the more scared feel comfortable for a price. This is what government does. Over a period of decades, society buys one illusion after another. Today, citizens fantasize over countless imaginary benefits and controls on the part of government. Government has no way to accomplish these things.

Currently there is a fantasy that a president’s job includes making sure various groups and individuals only hear nice words from fellow citizens. Government is expected to make all people be nice to one another. Today we have professional athletes protesting because others are not kind enough to people of the same race. There is nothing immoral about wanting these things to be true. We all must understand that government does not have a way to make these kinds of wishes come true.

Government is about getting, not giving. What happens when all discourse in a country is centered around fantasies to such a degree that all of the serious issues are ignored? The political system collapses.

 

About Fantasy Free Economics

James Quillian is an independent scholar and economist.

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