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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

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Gabriel M.

Beyond the rhetoric, there's some truth to this. Vernon Smith repeatedly showed how, in his market experiments, the market reaches its Pareto-optimum but many of the participants report that they think they could have done much better (when in fact they couldn't).

Now regarding the rhetoric itself... "The People Are Complaining" is one of the Left's top 10 hits. Busybodies like the EPI always frame their complaining in a way that makes it look as if they're representing the Little People. But T. Sowell showed us, as back as the late '70s, that poor black families don't ask for handout, they respect themselves more than that. It's middle class liberals who ask in their name.

Does anyone like risk and being constrained by one's income? No. No one likes that. Really. But the public's complaints, where they exists, are an expression of "local nonsatiety", to put it technically, and not an informed view of all costs and benefits involved, including the long run.

Experiment: pool people and ask them if they'd support a 20$ minimum wage, let's say. I think it would give us a better idea about who should align their expectations and ideas with who.

Lafayette

TPEO : « This disconnect is of profound importance. The elites are making and discussing economic policies in an environment in which—though they may not realize it—they are poorly informed about the views of the very people who will be affected by those policies. »

It is pleasing to see such discourse but, frankly, after Katrina and the misfeasance of the Bush administration, is it surprising news?

A plutocracy is one in which the wealthy govern and it is unique that, as regards America, they should be elected. What can we expect of people whose values are far displaced from the people they supposedly represent?

I recall, in France, when Valery Giscard D’Estaing was running for President, a reporter asked him a simple question – did he know the price of a subway ticket? Small matter, a subway ticket – but given the number of people who depended upon it in Paris to get to work, not an insignificant cost.

It may be fashionable to say that this gang of raptors currently inhabiting the offices of power in D.C. are plutocrats. Unfortunately, when one investigates the construct of Congress, wealth oozes everywhere. It surely takes money to get elected, and that is the problem. Only the rich can afford it.

In a democracy, a people get the sort of leadership they deserve. If Americans can base their judgement upon what the media tells them, and this seems to be the case by all accounts, then they’ve got the leadership they deserve – one that is moneyed and enjoys power for the fun of it. Why else would they be there? Out of a the misguided belief that by serving themselves they are also serving the American people? Quite possibly.

Are we a lonnnnggggg way from the days of Profiles in Courage.

Lafayette

GM: "Does anyone like risk and being constrained by one's income? No. No one likes that."

No, no one likes that. But, in many advanced societies that is required of its citizens.

If one wishes to believe that constraints to personal financial fulfilment are also a constraint on liberty, it is because one's definition of liberty is perhaps too broad. The flip side of the liberty coin is responsibility.

We all live in a market economy and that given means that we not only have liberties but responsibilities. One of them, it may be concluded, is to assure that inequity in the distribution of income is not so great that too much is amassed at the top and too little at the bottom.

When the pie is growing, the disparity is less sharp. But, when the pie stops growing, it is altogether a different matter.

Inevitably the inequality is a recipe for societal dysfunction. People believe the dictum that the "rich get richer and the poor get poorer", which is often not quite right. But, when they actually see it happening before their very eyes, then they get ruffled.

Just how many Bentleys can one park their garage?

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