It seems to me that one of the biggest problems we have as people is our inability to change and that helping people change is a key role for government. Some examples: totally portable retirement plans, totally portable health plans (the real advantage of National health care is not that it's national, but that it's portable), and unemployment insurance that helps people change to new jobs rather than sticking with the old ones (for example helping farmers shift from growing coffee to more lucrative professions - and not just farming!). Instead many government programs make it harder to change - exactly the wrong response. See Tim Harford's "The Undercover Economist" (great book!) for more about the economics of fair trade coffee and this week's issue of The Economist for their thoughts on "Why ethical shopping harms the world."