Thursday, May 21, 2009

More on "socialism"

Let's accept the premise that government intervention in the economy over the long run depresses economic growth, that because free markets allocate resources more efficiently than government, freer markets will be more efficient. I don't think this is true in all cases, and am deeply suspicious that theories of this sort do not apply to every real world situation.

However, again, let's simply accept the premise. The question it raises in my mind is economic efficiency, in terms of increasing total economic output the only good that matters? I look around my house, and I have a ton of stuff. More than I need. If I had to move, I'd likely throw a lot of it away. Of course, I'm not poor, so perhaps the problem is distribution.

One of my core political beliefs is that there is no single account of the good that can satisfy anyone. Therefore, we should at least be willing to consider trading some efficiency for other goods.

The key is not to pretend that various policies have no cost. Rather, the key is to ask the question whether the cost is worth the benefit.

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