When everybody owns something, nobody owns it, and nobody has a direct interest in maintaining or improving its condition. That is why buildings in the Soviet Union—like public housing in the United States—look decrepit within a year or two of their construction, why machines in government factories break down and are continuously in need of repair.

—Milton Friedman. Free to Choose: A Personal Statement, 1979.

Anything that can be privatized should be; the touch of government is fatal to efficiency and prosperity. Necessary government activities (for example court registries, police car fleets, and defense force logistics), should be outsourced to multiple private competitors, who then compete with one another to constantly lower cost and improve quality.

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