Saturday, August 17, 2019

#229 / Eggs In A Basket

My posting on August 16, 2019, conceded that the control that national governments exercise over the national monetary system can lead to governmental abuse. Still, I opposed the idea that we should substitute a "cryptocurrency" system, like Facebook's proposed Libra. Cryptocurrency is attractive to many because they mistrust the government; they doubt that the government will take proper care of our money. They think that a system that takes the government out of the picture might be better. I don't agree. 

As I have been thinking about this position, I realize that my view about the desirability of taking away governmental control over our monetary system reflects a more general view about the role of government in our lives. That general view of government is perhaps best captured by a saying attributed to Andrew Carnegie:

The advice, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is all wrong. I tell you “put all your eggs in one basket, and then watch that basket.”

That's the way we should think about the government. The idea that "government is the problem," as President Reagan said in his 1981 Inaugural Address, is just plain wrong. 

"Individualistic" approaches to our social, economic, and political challenges might appear to guard against the "all our eggs in one basket" danger. However, we are all in this life together, and are more than just a series of unconnected individuals. Because that is true, the "government is the problem" approach is not only wrong, but is ineffective in helping us to overcome the challenges we face, and to achieve the objectives we care about most.

It is true that when we set up governmental systems to deal with essential social, economic, and political problems, we are putting all our eggs in "one basket." 

There is a danger there, and so we need to remember that when we have government act for us, on issues affecting our economy, or on questions of war and peace, or on social justice and transportation and health care, we do have all our eggs in that "one basket." Because that is true, we must absolutely be sure that we:

Watch That Basket!

As I usually put it, we can't have effective self-government unless we get involved ourselves. To make the point another way, let me refer, as I often do, to Lincoln's famous description of our government, a government that is "of, by, and for the people." We will not have a government that is "for" the people unless it is "of" and "by" the people, first.

Where government is concerned, where we have put a lot of "eggs" in "one basket," we need to "watch that basket." That means continuing civic engagement.

I think Andrew Carnegie would have agreed!

Image Credit:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Gary,

    This is an interesting perspective. I'd love your input on the new climate portal I've created for Save Our Shores if you happen to have time to take a look:

    Gail McNulty


Thanks for your comment!