Should government "services" be *free*?

C.J. O'Kelly C.Okelly at massey.ac.nz
Fri Feb 12 22:18:43 EST 1993


Dave -

thanks for your comment, always welcome.  And thanks for your yeoman
duties with Usenet et al.

As to the "stereotype", I fully agree, there are modern-day examples of
"new" millionaires who are aware of, and are prepared to back with their
dollars, broader concerns.  In the United States, that is.  (Probably in
Europe too, but I cannot speak from direct experience in that case.)
Here in New Zealand, we have just undergone a fast-track transition
(1984-1993) from a social welfare state, where "all charity is in the
hands of Government", to an Adam Smith-style capitalism, where new
fortunes are being made on the backs of 10+% unemployment and the
shattered dreams and living standards of most of the rest of the
populace.  And under these conditions, the conclusions of the 19th-
century social scientists re: new money are much more categorically
true.  Especially in the absence, by policy, of tax incentives from
Government to induce the new millionaires to part with their gains.

This does not mean that people are starving in the street in New Zealand
while Rolls Royces parade inches away.  Yet.  But the more balanced
approach to government and private support of science in the United
States (folk will scream, but the demerits of the US system become less
obvious, and the rewards more obvious, once one has sampled another
system) is one of the main reasons I'm moving back to Uncle Sam land at
the end of the year (having spent a significant chunk of my sabbatical
last year, spent in Washington State and New England, exploring the
possibilities).

Best wishes, Charley



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