Why government
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Why Government? - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Why Government?. Answer in small groups:. What do you think? What is human nature? What would life be like without a government? What minimum functions must government serve? Have one person take notes on your group discussion and hand them in for participation credit. .

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Answer in small groups:

What do you think?

What is human nature?

What would life be like without a government?

What minimum functions must government serve?

Have one person take notes on your group discussion and hand them in for participation credit.

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Human Nature in Hobbes’ Leviathan

  • Equality

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  • Nature hath made men so equal in the faculties of body and mind as that, though there be found one man sometimes manifestly stronger in body or of quicker mind than another, yet when all is reckoned together the difference between man and man is not so considerable as that one man can thereupon claim to himself any benefit to which another may not pretend as well as he. For as to the strength of body, the weakest has strength enough to kill the strongest, either by secret machination or by confederacy with others that are in the same danger with himself.

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All men in a “state of nature”

  • Equal

  • Equal ability to compete for resources

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  • From this equality of ability ariseth equality of hope in the attaining of our ends. And therefore if any two men desire the same thing, which nevertheless they cannot both enjoy, they become enemies …

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All men in a “state of nature”

  • Equality

  • Equal ability to compete

  • Competition leads to fear

  • (A few are also motivated to fight for ego)

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Causes of war

  • So that in the nature of man, we find three principal causes of quarrel. First, competition; secondly, diffidence; thirdly, glory.

  • The first maketh men invade for gain; the second, for safety; and the third, for reputation. The first use violence, to make themselves masters of other men's persons, wives, children, and cattle; the second, to defend them; the third, for trifles…

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War of all against all

  • Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same consequent to the time wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.

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Why government?

  • If there is no security, life is not worth living.

  • Why else?

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Other reasons for government

  • Externalities

  • Tragedy of the commons

  • Selfish behavior can lead to bad results for everyone

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The argument in people are inherently selfish?Federalist 51?

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Federalist 51 people are inherently selfish?

  • Preserve liberty by giving each department a will of its own

  • Don’t trust politicians to restrain their lust for power

    • “Ambition must be made to counteract ambition.”

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Federalist 51 people are inherently selfish?

  • It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; in the next place oblige it to control itself.

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Do checks and balances work? people are inherently selfish?Does ambition counteract ambition?Do checks and balances enforce themselves? What might interfere with their operation?