Daycare for all is a great idea. A new government program is the worst possible way to get there.
There was nothing inherent to the lighthouse that made it a public good. It was a public good because government regulation made it so.
Super Bowl commercials are one of the last bastions of truly mass media – where a 30-second spot can start a national conversation. The ads from Anheuser-Busch alleging that its competitors Coors Light and Miller Lite use corn syrup while it does not just might be a moment that gets people talking about government’s role in agriculture.
People favor expansive government for different reasons and will want that government to do very different things, depending on their ultimate beliefs. Those beliefs will also typically lead them to support a government that is active in one area but not others.
The problem is not a single program or regulation. It’s the complete paradigm of a state that knows no limits to its power. That paradigm has gradually faded. Another will take its place.
To regain civility in human interactions and finally treat other human beings as human beings again, we would do well to get politics out of human affairs.
The history of tamales offers a powerful historical lesson about humility: most of the time, we don’t understand why rules are good, and we certainly should doubt our ability to choose reforms that will be better.
Anti-discrimination law interrupts important information flows that enable buyers to make rational decisions, supporting values of which they approve and denying funds to people with values of which they disapprove. These laws thereby interrupt the feedback mechanism that makes market democracy work. It also takes away the incentive for people to adapt their own value system in ways that are most consistent with a pluralistic society.
We rely on competitive markets to supply us with “correct” quantities of goods and services ranging in importance from chewing gum to industrial chemicals, and from pedicures to petroleum. So why do we not rely on competitive markets to supply us with the “correct” quantity of money?
Find any biological trait, posit it as a collective interest, set that trait against all other traits, and then struggle for power and privilege; your outlook comes to be characterized by loathing and resentment against the collective guilt of everyone but yourself.
When government regulates and legislates, it is not causing some imagined form of social uplift for the masses toiling under the terrible demands of freedom. It is instead making more criminals out of people who just want to live a better life.
Instead of striving for a theoretical ideal of perfection, markets are supercomputers of epic proportions, leveraging the information and motivation of every individual to make sure the right resources get to the right places at the right time.
Plenty of terrible things happened this year but some great things too!
Gas can regulations began in 2000, with the idea of preventing spillage. The notion began in California, spread, and was picked up by the EPA, which is always looking for new and innovative ways to mandate as much human misery as possible.
Professor Stiglitz is confident that humanity can be made better; just collect the data, organize and catalog it, and reduce all to a series of statistical indices, and heaven will be a little closer on earth once the right policies are implemented.
Inconsistencies are visible when politicians claim that war is the best way to peace, and when they admit that prohibition of alcohol failed in the 1930s even as they insist that the prohibition of drugs today will somehow work.