|Understanding Torah Society - part 5 - Public Goods-Infrastructure
Vayyiqra (Leviticus) 19:36
"Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, you shall have; I am YHWH your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Egypt."
To refresh our memory, the six public goods as commonly seen by government today are 1) order, 2) defense, 3) public health, 4) infrastructure, 5) education, and 6) social welfare. So far we have examined order, defense, and public health. This study will examine Infrastructure. Infrastructure consists of everything needed for an organization or nation to run itself economically and physically. For example, part of the infrastructure of a nation would be its roads, bridges, electrical grid, monetary system, water and sewage services, and anything else needed for a country or society to exist.
The common thought by many today is that it is the responsibility of the government to provide for and maintain the infrastructure of a nation. However, as we are about to see, this is not necessary, nor the best option. To begin with, please note that historically, the electrical grid was not government owned or maintained, but privately owned, in many cases by co-ops. "Co-op" is short for cooperative, which means a group of individuals banded together for a common purpose. Also, banks have been historically privately owned and operated. The government did not really get involved in banking until 1933 after the crash of 1929, when it created the FDIC-Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. When a person looks at the beginnings of nearly every part of a nation's infrastructure, it would have its roots in the private sector.
One aspect of government and infrastructure is the notion of the right of eminent domain. What this means is that the government has the right to confiscate any and all lands or private property which it deems necessary for the efficient function of itself. There are few limits upon this supposed self-given right. And who is supposed to oversee this power? The government is supposed to police itself in this matter. It is like sending a small child into a candy store and not placing any limits upon him except what he places upon himself. Few children would willingly constrain themselves.
Sadly, the power of a government to take is very far from Torah!
Vayyiqra (Leviticus) 25:23
"And the land shall not be sold in perpetuity; for the land is Mine; for you are strangers and sojourners with Me."
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