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Development by Consent: The Voluntary Supply of Public Goods and Services (Sequoia Seminar)

Development by Consent: The Voluntary Supply of Public Goods and Services (Sequoia Seminar)

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This book explores how myriad goods and services -- among them the generation and delivery of electricity, building and maintenance of roads, sewage and refuse disposal, water delivery, education, and transportation -- have been voluntarily supplied by individuals and groups in the absence of government mandates or sanctions. A recollection of the voluntary habit that predominated in nineteenth-century America stands in marked contrast to the expansive contemporary role of government in the United States and other countries, both industrialized and developing. Many additional examples conjoin in this volume to provide both leaders and citizens of debt-ridden governments with case experience of nongovernment alternatives for supplying sorely needed goods and services.

An implication of the evidence in this volume is that the development of any country can occur as a result of expanding the consenting actions of its citizens -- in the absence of a growing government, or in spite of it. Poorer countries are most likely to benefit from acting on the lessons of this book; voluntary means for meeting people's demands are even more appropriate where resources are less abundant. All countries can benefit from prohibiting the additional expense of having government do what its citizens would do otherwise. Richer countries may be able to afford the excess burden (or deadweight loss) that is incurred when government supplants private endeavors with its own. But in poorer countries, such additional cost istruly waste, and may very well preclude development. Better the voluntary alternatives of this book, and development by consent.