Friday, August 11, 2006

I guess I should comment

On this. I mean, everyone else is.

I had a conversation with a friend a long time ago, and our high-school brains somehow produced a silly argument. Somehow, we were arguing about who we trust more: governments or businesses. I, of course, trusted businesses more, for reasons I couldn't then articulate. She trusted government more, because corporations "just don't care."

Of course, that's the pinnacle of silliness. Of course corporations don't care. Neither do governments. Large entities aren't capable of empathy. Individuals in them may or may not. Of course, that's completely irrelevant. You can be a corporate CEO and care all you want and still be pressured (by the board, your employees, stockholders, etc.) to put out the local ma and pa business, and you can be a U.S. senator and care all you want and still be pressured (by your constituents--voters and/or special interests) to screw over a couple hundred million taxpayers for a wasteful pork barrel project. So really, don't trust anybody.

That's how I try to frame the world, at least. As I've said elsewhere, government is not evil; it is a tool that can be used for good or evil. The problem is establishing a systematic framework that extends the possibility for good while limiting the possibility for evil. Most often this makes me a libertarian.

One last thing. Professor Cowen adds, "One could love markets yet be some version of a modern liberal rather than a classical liberal. This possibility makes libertarians nervous, thus their desire to fix the quality of government in advance of making an argument."

There are some out there. I'd love it if there were more. Then there could be some serious debate instead of repeating this ridiculous argument about globalization and protectionism ad infinitum.

Update: Just read Will Wilkinson already. Read more.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Something Awful gives a primer on basic economics. The author actually seems to understand some stuff. And he makes fun of anime. Read more.