Here’s what one kind of objection to state expansion looks like. From World War II.

Thread, on why crisis-led state-building isn’t… so bad.
In 1943, as soldiers died in combat all over the world, some Canadians were ticked off at having to fill out questionnaires.
Why so many questionnaires? Wartime information needs. Post-war economic planning. Without data, the state was flying blind. Finance observers called Canada’s lack of GDP stats in 1943 our “statistical sin of omission.”
Public servants were scrambling to collect survey data, and Coats's crew were orchestrating and sharing as best they could, with limited resources.
Routinely-produced data was in short supply. In 1943, for the first time income tax data was about the majority of earners (and Coats didn’t have access). Capital gains were’t taxed as income, so no data collected.
The 1944 family allowance program produced new data about the scale of poverty. Administrators were horrified to learn how many recipients used it for rent, not “extras” like dental care.
Today, the crisis again exposes needs for data of a sort that won’t be produced by price signals.
We could do better, though, both in collecting and sharing among public agences.
During World War II and after, Canadian government agencies pioneered many data sources used today both by policy makers AND by businesses. Yes, surveys are a nuisance. But if you think big government is bad, blind government is surely worse.
Crisis can lead to better state capacity by enhancing the ability of decision-makers to “see” the sectors they regulate.
A bigger state can be both a more effective one and a more democratic one.
What’s required is a commitment to make policy that serves the people -- “all the people” as the civil servants of the 1940s used to say, emphasising the “all.”

And that commitment ultimately comes from an active, informed, organized public.
Footnotes: McDowall, The Sum of the Satisfactions; Marshall, The Social Origins of the Welfare State; Tillotson, Give and Take. 13/13 #cdnhist #economics #cdnpoli
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