teflonspyder pointed me t’ward this. Here’s why the author is an asshole.
First of all, experiments in social science are INCREDIBLY difficult to perform. People on either side of the political spectrum must admit that, while the importance of empiricism in selecting social policy can hardly be understated, it is quite tough to control for all the inputs when conducting such experiments. Economies and societies are simply too complicated. I am not saying that conclusive results can not be obtained, but the correlation::causation of dereg::bad economy simply doesn’t jibe.
Moreover, just because companies are clamoring for more regulation doesn’t mean that it is good economics.”People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.” Adam Smith, the first economist, said that. The point is, just because businesses want something, doesn’t mean it is in the public’s best interest. The history of business regulation in this country is a detailed story of businesses collaborating to reduce competition(in order to raise prices or profits) or getting explicit permission to sell less or at a higher price. Agriculture offers several frightening examples, and the current state of affairs with sugar in this country is repulsive. You can’t trust businesses if they are trying to get the government on their side. Yes, this may allow for short term gain by some, which brings me to my final point.
Economics is the science of trade-offs. Every time you enforce something new, something is lost. Every time you stop enforcing something, something is lost. The question is whether it is better to allow companies to compete and lead the way with better and/or cheaper products, or to regulate the industry to control their output. I can’t claim to have the numbers to say which is better, I only know what my ideology tells me, and that is that People may not know what is best for them, but they probably have a better idea than some asshole in DC(or LJ) who claims his rules will fix their life.
I prefer the type of freedom where companies can make what they want, and people can buy what they want, and, unless someone willfully hurts someone else, punishment only comes in the form of people not buying what you’re selling.
PS. Economists will put you to sleep with nauseating repeats of the phrase “people respond to incentives,” but here’s another application: If you mete out harsh enough punishment for selling a dangerous product, COMPANIES WILL SPEND MORE ON TESTING BEFORE RELEASING HARMFUL STUFF. Companies, like individuals should always be performing cost-benefit analysis.