The governments of our world are mired in debt. Some people don’t think this is a problem, because we “owe it to ourselves.” However, that debt sits in our retirement funds, our investment portfolios, and in the hands of foreign speculators. At some point, we will be faced with either higher direct or indirect (e.g., inflation) taxes to settle it. Either way, we end up with less.


Wealth meme


However, there is an “easy way out.” If we were able to create more wealth at a faster pace, our debt could be retired without increases in taxation or inflation. The only way to increase wealth creation enough to do this in today’s world is for governments to tax, spend, and regulate less. Studies show that when government spends more, wealth creation declines (for example, see Figure 12.1 from the 2015 edition of my book,Healing Our World).


Figure 12.1: Reprinted with permission from J. Gwartney, R. Holcombe, and R. Lawson, “The Scope of Government and the Wealth of Nations,” , 18: 171, 1998.


Figure 12.1


At different times in their history, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdomdoubled their wealth creation virtually overnight by slashing taxes, lifting tariffs, and deregulating. Instead of learning from this experience, these three countries limited their bounty by once again raising taxes and increasing regulation. However, we can learn from that experience.

Studies suggest that the United States, for example, could increase its wealth creation between 3-18 times by practicing non-aggression, ending government services, and letting the private sector provide them. In earlier posts, we found that many of these services, which were intended to protect us, actually cause harm. In subsequent posts, will discuss how police, fire, and national defense might be provided by the market. For the moment, however, let’s focus on what the increased wealth creation would mean for us.

What would you do if your paycheck tripled, quadrupled, or soared even higher? Would you send your children to better schools, take more vacations, work less, donate time and money to your favorite charity? Would you be able to pay off your credit card debt and mortgage, start your own business, or retire early? The increase in wealth would be so drastic, it’s difficult to even imagine that!

With this much wealth creation, we would be able to keep our promises to our seniors and pay off the national debt without increases in taxation or inflation. Instead of those on fixed incomes being able to buy less and less each year, the value of their pension would remain stable. The value of our savings would as well.

Governments of the world hold title to between 40-80% of the land mass of their countries. If government sold these lands, or recognized the homesteading rights of those who currently live on them, the poor, especially in the Third World, would become affluent overnight. A clear title to the lands they inhabit would allow them to live securely on their land, rather than fearing an overnight eviction by bureaucratic decree. A clear title also allows the poor to sell the property they currently live on or mortgage it to start a business. One of the reasons that the Third World never became rich was that it did not recognize the property rights of those who homesteaded it.

The most dramatic change with an increase of wealth creation would be goods and services that are currently unavailable. Most likely, we’d have cures for our deadliest diseases: cancer, heart disease, AIDS, and even old age. Perhaps we’d visit other planets or even colonize them as new technologies gave us travel speeds that we can only dream of today.

We’d be able to take better care of our earth as well, since we’d be able to learn more about nature’s ecosystems and how best to maintain them. Poverty, as we know it today, would be a historical curiosity. No one would starve. We’d be able to create more wealth in less time, increasing leisure for study, play, friends, or family.

The loss that we experience because of aggression-through-government is staggering: the damage done to our forests and prairie lands; the boom and bust cycles that cripple the poor; the hopeless future of millions of illiterate children; the absence of life-saving drugs and anti-aging therapies; the space explorations that never launch; starvation; premature death. The lost wealth means that suffering which might have been stopped must continue.

The developed nations of the world became rich by honoring their neighbor’s choice. Why then did they turn their back on the principles that made them wealthy?

While many people understood the dangers of aggression-through-government, they did not know how to cope with individuals who aggressed against others. They didn’t have the “other piece of the puzzle,” which is the subject of the next post. As a result they tried to prevent aggression by becoming aggressors themselves, with consequences more terrible than those they sought to avoid. In the next few posts, we’ll explore better ways to deal with those individuals who would aggress against us. We will learn how to remain Good Neighbors while defending ourselves.

These posts are part of a “Cliff Notes” version of my award-winning international best-selling libertarian primer, Healing Our World. The next post in this series will be about Chapter 13, “The Other Piece of the Puzzle.” If you’d like to learn more about creating 3-18 times as much wealth before the next post, check out Chapter 12 of the 1993 edition of Healing Our World, in my Free Library at