So how do treasure, organization, authority and information come together in Governments as a whole operate and how they are combined (similarly or differently) in different policy areas.

Perhaps the biggest ‘meta-difference’ within the modern G7 states is the exceptional nature of Japan’s post-WWII “developmental state” model. This was characterized by having a relatively small (compared to other G7 countries) government in terms of treasure, and especially organization, but having a very big government when it comes to exercising authority – embodied in the mighty MITI (Ministry of International Trade and Industry) and its highly interventionist role.

Although Japan’s ‘developmental state’ period may be the most sustained (peace-time) example of a different form of Big Government – through more emphasis on authority and information rather than treasure and organization – there have been periods in other G7 countries have also used authority and information much more strongly – e.g. in pre-WWII fascist Germany and Italy; in all G7 countries during WWII.

This illustrates just how different the mix of policy tools – either at the level of governments as a whole or in individual policies – can a vary considerably.

But in none of the G7 countries has the size of government – as measured on all four dimensions – shrunk qualitatively since the 1970s and certainly not back to the levels  of government that existed in the late 19th century.