2/01/2020

Three Motivations for “State Capacity Libertarianism”

"The second, related impetus I see for “state capacity libertarianism” is simply the growing chasm between the public- and private-sector user experience. With a few taps on my phone, I can hail a car, pay my rent, reserve a table for dinner, and share a video with my friends and family. And if anything goes wrong, a chat-based customer service agent is there to help. But if I want to pay my taxes, order a new passport, transfer a property title, or simply have a question answered about a rule or regulation, the experience is much different. There’s a good chance I’ll need a pen and paper, time to stand in line, and a nine-digit Social Security Number rooted in 1936 technology.

The consequences of this gap are more than personal inconvenience. Inefficient bureaucracies running on legacy systems and processes can become a bottleneck for economic growth and development. And as Donald Moynihan and Pamela Herd argue in their recent book, Administrative Burden, confusing paperwork and complex regulations harm the resource-constrained poor above all."