Big Brother is watching you: from Theory to Reality

Nowadays, Big Brother is known as a synonym of mass surveillance. If we think about Big Brother in the framework of George Orwell’s novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, the pervasiveness of the character seems, indeed, to be its main trait. In the wake of many terrorist attacks, the global threat to national security seems to induce our governments to strengthen measures in order to reinforce the jeopardized country’s safety. This leads many to argue that George Orwell’s novel has turned into some sort of gloomy reality. Explanations.


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Externalities have been considered since the twenties and the works of the English economist Arthur Pigou (º1877-†1959) as one of the most important market failures. Since the seventies, many politicians from the newly founded ecological parties, and academics (Easterlin, 1980) have addressed their concern about the climatic change, and externalities have become an important field of action of the states, in the frame of the function of allocation of resources (Musgrave, 1969). Interventionist policies are nowadays more and more emphasized. Recently, French parliament voted to multiply the carbon tax rate by 4, and the state of Alberta in Canada has decided to introduce a new carbon tax.

But are these policies efficient? Do they really solve the problem of externalities?


Example of negative externality (Eugène Bracht painting – 1905)

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