This week is Secession Week at Let a Thousand Nations Bloom. I have no problems with the S word, but I also use the economic expression “unbundling.” For example, Ed Glaeser writes,

In a sense, the gulf between the political attitudes of New York City and Montana can be understood as a reflection of the fact that city dwellers need government a lot more than ranchers do.

That is the final sentence of an essay on the public health value of urban water treatment. I can appreciate that technocratic management of the water system in my area is a good thing. Overall, though, the government implementation of this technocratic solution comes bundled with teachers’ union featherbedding and pensions, land use regulations that impose heavy costs and foster a lucrative market in political favor-trading, and exorbitantly expensive construction projects for buildings and roads.

What I would like to see is unbundling of government services. Those that could easily be provided privately would be separated from those that are most difficult to provide privately. If private water provision would be difficult to implement, fine. Private provision of schooling would not be so difficult to implement. By unbundling, we could move incrementally toward more competitive government.

Many people resent the way that cable TV companies bundle their packages of services. I have that same resentment over government bundling.