Elgar original reference
Edited by William F. Shughart II and Laura Razzolini
Chapter 22: The politics of government growth
Roger D. Congleton 1 The scope of governance Fundamentally, government is the organization that governs: that creates and enforces the laws within a particular geographic territory. The range of what may be governed within a particular territory is very broad, and extends well beyond the basic civil and criminal codes of conduct that ﬁrst come to mind. Regulations limit the range of goods that can be produced and sold, the hours that can be worked, and the wages that can be paid. Tax laws determine the portion of earned income that employees are allowed to keep, and the portion of sales revenues and proﬁts that merchants may retain. Beyond the laws that determine how economic resources may be used and what claims individuals may have on them are laws that deﬁne life and death, marriage and divorce, parental rights and obligations, and even the bounds of proper public and private intimacy. Perhaps even more potentially intrusive are rules that mandate particular types of public education or genetic screening. Such rules may, in principle, attempt to determine the kinds of human beings that reside within a government’s jurisdiction in an even more fundamental way than efforts to regulate immigration and emigration do. The potential scope of governmental rulemaking and rule enforcement extends even beyond the human species. Rulemaking includes efforts to regulate nature as well as humanity. Legislation may reroute streams, drain swamps, create forests, promote the interests of some species over others, attempt to control the composition of...
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