Many Americans are probably not aware of it, but Brazil's economy is booming. Ironically, its growth is from agriculture. Aside from the politically contentious conversion of rainforest to cattle grazing or cropland, Brazil is doing a lot of things right.
A joint government-industry partnership first decoded the sugarcane genome over a decade ago. That knowledge has allowed the government to direct genetic modifications of sugarcane specific to Brazil. There is a symbiosis between the bacteria at the root of the sugarcane and the plant itself. Genetic modifications have resulted in bacteria that fix nitrogen molecules into the soil, reducing the need for fertilizer. Productivity improvements have been made in the genome to produce up to 25 percent more sugar in the stalk - resulting in more ethanol for domestic consumption and export.
This partnership between industry and government seems to take the best of both worlds - government can do things industry cannot, and industry has capitalistic goals that government does not. Of course this results in debate about whether we should even have a government - private industry is sufficient for some.
When do rules for the common good cross the line has an interesting perspective on this debate. Kathleen Parker writes that both sides are right. In rural America, not as many regulations are needed. If you want to smoke a cigarette outside your house, it is your lungs. But if you live in New York City, where your doorway is adjacent to your neighbor, should you have the right to damage her lungs?
Much of the argument about big and little government is dependent upon whether you live in a high population density region or a low density area. Interesing observation, isn't it?