By Andrew Lepore | United States
Scam: noun. (informal)
1. a dishonest scheme; a fraud. “an insurance scam”
synonyms: fraud, swindle, fraudulent scheme, racket, trick;
If you inquired to the average person on the street if they believe the government should or could be funded voluntarily, or if participation could be voluntary, the answer would likely be no. They would say involuntary taxation is a necessary evil, and it is in fact to the benefit of every individual to pay into the state. They would likely say without coercive taxation, everybody would be looking after themselves, and nobody would pay into police, fire, defense, roads, and other services currently monopolized by state. They may even think society would undoubtedly collapse under such circumstances.
I understand why somebody would think like this, as any person alive today has forever lived under a strong centralized government, and may not be able to see through the smoke screens presented before them. This theory though, that government and taxation must be involuntary because it is to the benefit of the individual, flies in the face of praxeological reality and economic fact.
A contradiction to this idea, the Law of Utility Maximization through cost benefit analysis Is one of the underlying functions of human action in the market. Utility maximization simply means every individual wishes to maximize the benefit they receive in exchange for every dollar, and for every moment of their time. Every consumer wishes to maximize the value they receive for the lowest cost.
A rational individual will purchase a good or service if the benefit they receive from that service is equal to or outweighs the cost of purchasing it, as it is simply to their benefit to do so. The consumer wants to pay into a service if they value the benefit they would receive for paying into that service. And if there are many competing firms, the consumer will choose the firm which provides the best services at the lowest cost.
This of course is the action on the part of the consumer which drives competition, and the success of the business that provides the best deal to customers. When a group has a coercively enforced monopoly it is no longer subject to competition. It no longer has to fight to provide the best services at the lowest cost to consumers, as it is not required to convince people to use their services. It no longer has the incentive to be efficient as it can be, it can just involuntarily take money out of the taxpayers pocket.
This leads to what we now see as the horribly inefficient and wasteful services that the government provides. Since government services are not subject to the scrutiny of the market the people have no choice but to settle with the far below sub-par services it provides. If contribution to these programs were made voluntary, they would either need to seriously get their act together, or be severely outcompeted.
Now if the horrendous services which government provides at the outrageous cost were really to the benefit of the individual, their simply would be no need for it to be involuntary. If it was voluntary, the consumer would want to pay in so they could receive the benefits. This is just like how a consumer purchases a ticket to a football game voluntarily because to them the benefit of the experience of seeing the game in person outweighs the cost of the ticket. Or, it is like how they voluntarily purchase food because being full is worth more benefit than the cost of the purchase.
Are the most successful companies and service providers required to have a gun to the customers’ heads to get their money? Of course not, the consumer wants to give say, Apple, their money because they want to get the product. It’s the same logic for voluntarily funded emergency services for example. It is to the individuals benefit to pay a firm which provides emergency services as to most people, having emergency services at hand is worth the cost of not having it (the market would of course provide alternatives for those in dire circumstances who hasn’t already bought a service, like a 911 service which you call only to be billed after).
Not only do we not need involuntarily funded group with a monopoly on the initiation of force at the center of our society in order to not divulge into a Hobbesian nightmare; but such an institution is always corrupt, inefficient and a scam on society.
That’s not even to mention the complete immorality of the state. Nowhere else in our lives would such an idea be acceptable. Imagine If one day, the McDonald’s CEO announced that the company would be taking 20% to 50% of every dollar which every individual makes (depending on the bracket of course), and that those who failed to comply would be locked up in the McPrison for a few years. But hey you would get 3 meals a day. Would this be acceptable to you? Of course not. If that happened today their were surely be an unavoidable outcry, and the people wouldn’t stand for such a thing. Though If we were already indoctrinated into a system like that, maybe people would even say “Without McDonald’s, who would provide the food?”
In conclusion, the myth of the justification and necessity of the state is a scam on a grand and colossal scale. The fact that government must be an involuntarily funded institution proves that it is a scam. The state acknowledges people would not value their services enough to voluntarily hand over the fruits of their labor. An involuntarily funded group based on the initiation of force, which of course cannot exist in a truly free society, is never justifiable nor is it necessary.