In his pamphlet “Common Sense,” Thomas Paine describes government as a necessary evil and notes that people have a propensity to confuse it with society. In order to differentiate the two, Paine states that while society is an ideal to strive for, government is “a necessary evil” that aims to keep people from doing wrong (Paine, 2016). He uses the example of oppression to support the argument. It is more dangerous for a country to have a government and experience oppression than for oppression to occur without a government because the government is an institution that is created and funded by the people. In that regard, the citizens are responsible for their tribulations. No one is to blame but themselves. A government would be unnecessary if people acted ethically and promoted the values of honesty and integrity (Paine, 2016). However, since people are unethical, a government is necessary so as to offer protection to people and their property.
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Paine views government as an institution whose primary role is to restrain people from indulging their evil natures. Therefore, it has a preventative role. Paine compares the society with government and comes to a conclusion that while the society is a creative force that promotes happiness, the government is an institution that stops people from committing crime (Paine, 2016). In that regard, a government infringes on people’s happiness because it restrains their vices. On the contrary, society promotes happiness because it unites people based on what they like. People in a country with a government may become miserable because of oppression. Similarly, people in a country without a government may become miserable also because of oppression. Therefore, government is a necessary evil.
The Four Functions of the Economy
The four main functions of the economy include production, consumption, growth, and distribution of products and services (resources). The most important function of an economy is the production of goods and services (Holton, 2013). Production encompasses the activities and services that meet the needs of the people through exchange. Examples of products include agricultural and manufacturing products, while service providers include doctors, traders, transporters, and civil servants among others. Production encompasses all goods and services that are exchanged for money in order to satisfy certain needs and wants (Holton, 2013). Another key function of the economy is consumption. Consumption involves the use of goods and services in order to fulfill human wants. Consumption can be classified into two types namely, single-use goods and durable-use goods. Single-use goods include products that satisfy human needs directly such as foodstuff and fuel, as well as services provided by doctors and other professionals. On the other hand, durable-use goods include products such as electronics, houses, and clothing that can be used for long periods. Economic consumption encompasses products and services that are paid for so as to satisfy certain wants.
Another function of the economy is growth (Holton, 2013). This involves fostering the real per capita income of a country. There are several factors that accelerate the growth of an economy. They include technical knowledge and progress, population increase, technological growth, supply of savings, and capital growth (Holton, 2013). The society must improve its capacity to produce goods and services because of their high demand that is caused by population growth. Distribution of goods and services is another function of the economy (Holton, 2013). After goods and services are produced, it is necessary to distribute them to the people so as to satisfy their needs. The economy facilitates the distribution of products and services.
Holton, R. J. (2013). Economy and society. New York, NY: Routledge.
Paine, T. (2016). Common sense. Dublin, OH: Coventry House Publishing.