Creating a shortage is far more effective than subsidies, but I find that to be unethical. The government shouldn't be doing that sort of thing.
You're right, this isn't really a good example.Perhaps a poor example, but environmental regulations on companies, as far as limiting levels of pollutants entering the air or water, or disposing of things properly. If it wasn't enforced by the government (and sure, with any aspect of enforcement, paperwork can clog the system, or there will be loopholes, etc...), would the companies really have an incentive to do all of it? Of their own accord?? No, not really. There would be a few companies who might, but I believe they would be the exception.
I don't see the government as visionary, I see it as reactionary to public opinion.So that's why I do think the government needs to play a role in getting things in motion -- since ultimately the government, as it exists in the here and now, drives to a certain extent how our society as a whole operates.
I think we'll have to agree to disagree. ;-)