Each of the pathologies described in this subsection arises when an individual attempts to remedy a deficient sense of self-esteem, without understanding what true self-esteem entails. In each case, the individual fails to acquire an authentic sense of efficacy and self-worth, because the mechanism chosen is inadequate to the purpose. Consequently, those who resort to these tactics find that their original feelings of low self-esteem are merely compounded by new failures. Caught in a vicious circle, they then return with still greater desperation to the same devices, which they hope will eventually enable them to overcome this fundamental deficiency of self-esteem.
Although racism, sexism, and the other problems observed above are sometimes described as "social ills," they are rooted in the consciousness of individuals and can only be solved by addressing the cognitive processes of those individuals. Ultimately, positive action on these fronts can be achieved only through a major cultural change, affirming the principles of reason, enlightened self-interest, and individual self-direction, and overcoming the false premises of altruism and collectivism.
Returning to praxeology, let us now examine the possible roles of a government with respect to markets.