TED Conversations

Kris Rosvold

Commercial Services Specialist, Central Oregon Heating & Cooling

This conversation is closed.

Do we need to have a discussion with our Governments about the proper roles and, duties of government?

In the USA alone, I have watched the Federal Government take us off the gold standard resulting in my buying power being reduced by over 1/2 dollar for dollar. I have watched "our" congress remove the Glass-Stegall Act which had prevented financial melt-downs for over 45 years. I have watched our regulators ignore the fact that our food supply system is so broken that I must cook all food to well-done in order to prevent food-borne illnesses. I have watched our government mandate the food (corn) be turned into fuel with millions starving. I have watched our government start, support, and force us to pay for wars which are morally wrong, and based on lies. I believe that government, in the USA, as we now know it, is broken. So the questions are:
1) What are the PROPER roles of a government?
2) Has our (US) government over-stepped those boundaries?
3) What are the duties of a government to its' citizens?
4) How can we act to require our governments become moral (ie congruent)?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • May 15 2012: Tough questions you've posed! I am not very familiar with the structure and routine of the US Gov., however, I've worked for more than 20 yeare in the government of an "emergent" country. The first rule to have a good government is to have the right institutions, the second, that these insitututions are strong. Any country that have "heroes" instead public servants is doomed. Governments exists to protect the weakers from the abuse of the strongers. it shall provide Justice and equality ot oportunities. Treat unequally the unequals. In practical terms, goverments shall not be involved in anything that the civil society can do in a free-competition environment - it excludes all kind of monopolies, even the natural ones -. Finally, as far as I can comment, the way to force the government to act moraly is through the free press and genuine leadership (non-populist, no-demagogic). Democratic participation, through real involvement in policts - voting and participating - is so essential as long term expectations. Short term results are not about public governance.
    • thumb
      May 15 2012: Luciano

      Once again your over thinking it.

      The basic failure of government or any organization is in the quality control department as it disappears. Think of the free market as the quality control department of an organization the customer says I can get a better value over there so I going to buy over there. This is not a platitude but something that requires both parties to be accountable. This absolutely does not occur in government.

      What does occur is the tyranny of democracy crushing those who would like to participate in the free market and bloating government with unchecked growth and waste and burden.
      • May 16 2012: Well, if you see Democracy as tyranny, you probably didn't live under a real tyranny of a dictatorship. Believe in me, governments and corporations are much more complex and intertwined than it appears. I'm saying so because I have the experience of live and grown pu under a dictartorship, fight for democracy and, also, for having workon both sides of the bench : 22 years as a public servant and almost 10 as director of international companies. The democratic dialogue,based on free press and periodic elections, with all its imperfections, is still the best way to walk towards social justice and sustainability. Govenment people are no so powerfull as they wish and the market is not so free as all entrepreneurs wish. But believe in me, under a tyranny, a real one, the reality is the oposite. Finnaly, quality control is not a precise cartesian science, it is a procedure with targets hard to meet. In the end, people is what matters, so education and freedom are the main tools to improve any society. And society improvement is a long term goal, not an achievemnt for one's lifetime. Overthinking? Well... you tell me. Even so, I am just expressing a view based on real-world experience, commitmentand facts I've experienced. In government I've had the opportunity to work in the highest level of public policies formulation and implementation (in my own country and abroad, trhough bilateral cooperation programs and/or multilateral agencies programs). In the private sector, I've been involved with international corporations for almost 10 years, as senior officer. Believe in me there is no "basic failures", but basic difficulties, which is much more complex. Reality is not a cartesian plan with fix and known coordinates.
        • thumb
          May 16 2012: Tyranny is tyranny the result is equally bad. I suspect you do not understand the implications of a democratic tyranny as it is more subtle yet pervasive and absolutely not "the best way to walk towards social justice and sustainability."

          Quality control is difficult and requires constant monitoring, this is the down fall of all organizations. The problem is that in government quality control is completely ignored. The free market is the best quality control there is. No matter how much your ilk would like to tell people what is best for them no one is qualified to do that.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.