The protection and enforcement of contracts through courts of civil law is the most crucial need of a peaceful society; without such protection, no civilization could be developed or maintained. The higher or more complex a civilization, the longer the range of activity it requires—and, therefore, the longer the range of contractual agreements among men, and the more urgent their need of protection for the security of such agreements. Even a primitive barter society could not function if a man agreed to trade a bushel of potatoes for a basket of eggs and, having received the eggs, refused to deliver the potatoes. Visualize what this sort of whim-directed action would mean in an industrial society where men deliver a billion dollars’ worth of goods on credit, or contract to build multimillion-dollar structures, or sign ninety-nine-year leases.

—Ayn Rand. Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 1966.

Almost everything can be achieved through the private sector—so long as contracts are enforced. Thus, funding for civil law courts is just as important as funding for defense and for the police. Civil law courts should be prioritized ahead of roads, schools, bridges, science, and almost every other government expenditure. The lack of contract enforcement is the main cause of starvation throughout the world. People will not venture their effort or capital unless they are confident it will be returned with profit.

This article is an extract from the book ‘Principles of Good Government’ by Matthew Bransgrove