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Afraid to be free: Dependency as desideratum

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Although collectivist ideas have everywhere fallen into disrepute, this essay argues that socialism nevertheless will survive and be extended in the new century. That gloomy prospect looms, not because socialism is more efficient or more just, but because ceding control over their actions to others allows individuals to escape, evade and even deny personal responsibilities. People are afraid to be free; the state stands in loco parentis. The breaching of plausibly acceptable fiscal limits in the first half of the new century will determine how the basic conflict between welfare dependency and liberal principles will be resolved.

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Correspondence to James M. Buchanan.

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Buchanan, J.M. Afraid to be free: Dependency as desideratum. Public Choice 124, 19–31 (2005).

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