No Government Is Good Government?


After checking (czeching?) boxes in a June election, the Czech Republic still has no government. When the votes were counted, no coalition could assemble more than 100 members, and parliament has 200 seats. Reason contributor Marian L. Tupy isn't worried:

Five months [after the election], the only certainty is that political stalemate is likely to continue until an early election can be agreed. Notably, the sky has not fallen. The country's institutional framework remains sturdy, the economy continues to grow apace, and some Czechs wonder if they even need government at all.

It's true that the sky hasn't fallen. But unemployment sure has:

All the while, the Czech economy continues to perform nicely. Unemployment fell from 8.8 percent in August 2005 to 7.8 percent in August 2006, and economic growth is projected to reach 6 percent this year. The continued growth of the economy suggests that the investors perceive the Czech Republic as a safe place for their savings. That is a vote of confidence in the strength of the Czech institutional framework and the progress that the country has made since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Tupy concludes: "It appears that the Czechs can afford to be without government a little while longer."


More Marian Tupy here.

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  1. Those Czechs may be onto something.

  2. Iraq also appears to have no government. How’s that going?

  3. Who’s compiling unemployment stats if there is no government?

  4. I haven’t been there in over a decade now, but Prague quickly became my favorite European city shortly after the cold war ended. Aside from its beauty, it was filled with friendly, intelligent and well-educated people who — Gasp! — liked having American tourists and ex-pats and were ready to knock the Soviet dust off their shoes and move ahead with modernizing and creating free markets immediately. Oh, and the beer ain’t half bad, either.

  5. Iraq also appears to have no government. How’s that going?

    Except of course for the Iraqi one, the American one and the various organizations of insurgents.

  6. According to these guys, there seems to be functioning caretaker cabinet. This is more like the US immediately after the elections of 2000 rather than Somalia.

  7. Big Dan T:

    Iraq also appears to have no government. How’s that going?

    Iraq does have a government. It’s ours. Now ask how’s that going?

  8. Ah, how fondly I recall when our own government shut down in the 90’s. Brief, but glorious.

  9. Todd:

    Halcyon days, to be sure…

  10. Let’s see, you have the US. Govt, The British govt, The putative Iraqi Govt, various Shiite and Sunni groups (with variyign degrees of secular or theocratic attitudes), Kurdish groups, Batthists all claiming to be the legitimate rulers of this or that piece of Iraq, and you claim the Iraqi’s have no government?

    I think they have a surfeit of them, personally.

  11. I’m sure you already know this, but it’s not as if the courts,the civil service,the police and the army in the Czech republic suddenly stopped working.

    Czechs still have all the government in the world,they just don’t have the administration.In Iraq, of course, the problem is exactly the opposite.

  12. Don’t. Feed. The. Trolls.

    The “T” is for “Troll”.

  13. Much of the chaos in the world is usually ascribed to a state of anarchy, when the truth is almost always competition among those that wish to rule..

  14. To be more specific, while there is still government, it is not capable of generating new legislation and, presumably, regulation and taxes. Therefore, no new forms of gov’t interference.

    Nice. I hear they have great beer too.

  15. Jussi, that is very well put. The Czech still has a police and criminal system to protect the basic liberties of their people, without the bureaucratic hodge podging. Let’s hope it stays that way.

  16. Jussi and Brian Defferding,
    Don’t be too sure that the “good” parts of government are really necessary.
    Government is still government. Who needs governing? You do?

  17. I spent a week in Prague around 1981.
    To think that 25 years later I would be reading something like this is kinda amazing.

  18. America was certainly better off for 36 days in 2000 when we weren’t sure who was going to be President, than we have been since then.

  19. Was there in May- the wine is pretty good too.

  20. But how will they punish sex offenders more severely without a government? Who is going to protect the precious children?

  21. Right now I’m praying Eris that the situation stays that way in the Czech Republic until the next presidential elections. The implications of no government mixed with the process of selecting the head of the state will be deliciously chaotic.

    Czechs could be the first nation on Earth to, simply, DISMISS the state as an unwanted annoyance.

  22. Sorry, I guess I should have said no functioning government. I forgot how literal you guys can be.

    But hey, I guess Iraqi income taxes are probably low and I doubt they’ve banned foie gras and smoking in bars. Paradise?

  23. It sounds like they still have a functioning government: that “institutional framework” they were talking about that is made up of government employees and societal structure. What is missing is the political arm of the government. I would contend that, after the basic framework of government is set up…the tax structure established, the laws agreed upon etc…the political branches of government are no longer needed…or at least not on a full time basis.

    Our founders intended Congress to meet once or twice a year, not stay in session all year long. They did not envision a class of professional politicians, but representatives elected from among the population who sacrifice time from their REAL lives to serve the greater good in the Congress.

    Basically, our congress spends most of it’s time meddling in affairs in which it has no business, trying mightily to justify their existence and working steadily to consolidate and increase their power over us “common folk”.

    The Czech republic isn’t necessarily functioning (and thriving) without government, it is functioning and thriving without the interference of meddlesome and self-important politicians.

  24. I love feeding trolls:


    In Iraq every month about ~1000 people die in “sectarian” violence, generally as punishment for violating the sectarian groups laws.

    If it’s one things govrenments are good at, it’s killing people. The Iraqis are unfortunate in that they have lots of funtioning governemnts preying on them.

  25. Sorry tarran – a bunch of warring gangs indicates a lack of a functioning government, not a surplus of them.

    Ironically, back when Iraq had a strong, if totalitarian, government (under Saddam), you did not see the kind of widespread violence that is there now.

  26. Yah, Saddam had a monopoly on violence and terror.

  27. Every now and then, someone comes along this venue to illuminate for us stupic libertarians how everything will go to hell without “the government” around to keep it all together.

    I’m here to tell ’em, all “the government” does is put all our asses together in one big basket til the whole kaboodle breaks down. That makes it more fun for whoever is alive when it happens.

  28. “To be more specific, while there is still government, it is not capable of generating new legislation and, presumably, regulation and taxes. Therefore, no new forms of gov’t interference.”

    Nor any means of getting rid of or modifying the existing ones. It just means everything continues on its present course.

  29. “put all our asses together in one big basket til the whole kaboodle breaks down.”

    “When the bough breaks
    the cradle will fall
    and down will come baby
    cradle and all.”

  30. Seems like grabbing at straws to use this as an example of how societies function without (with limited, with less) government. It reminds me of the intelligent design folks pointing out the limits of current understanding of biological processes.

    Praha is indeed one of the greatest places on earth.

  31. Either grabbing at straws, or revealing that people think changing the laws or their administration can only make things worse, never better — that the status quo is the best that can be hoped for absent revolution.

  32. I think Sailorcourt has posted the best post on H&R in a year.

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