Picture of The Size and Scope of American Government (MP3 download)

The Size and Scope of American Government (MP3 download)

By Richard M. Salsman


This course examines the history and theory of the size, scope and purpose of American government from the Founding period, beginning with the lasting influence of Hamiltonian and Jeffersonian principles, and ending with today’s burgeoning welfare state. Evidence is presented on the long-term fiscal record (1790–2010), including federal spending, taxing, borrowing, money-creation, regulation and bureaucracy, alongside various non-philosophical theories purporting to explain it. These flawed and incomplete theories, derived mainly from economic determinism, are thoroughly critiqued. A superior theory of the fiscal record identifies America’s predominant and prevailing moral code, and the extent to which it has been more or less egoistic or altruistic and embodied in theories of rights, justice and democracy, as the main determinant of the nation’s long-term fiscal trends, for good or ill. Drawing on this deeper moral theory, the course concludes with conditional projections of the likely future growth of American government and of closely related debt crises. 

This course was recorded at the Objectivist Summer Conference 2012 in San Diego, CA.

(MP3 download; 4 hrs., 16 mins., 185.18 MB)