Saturday, July 24, 2010

Free Market

I wonder if there is any connection between people disliking free-market economics and the impression that they personally would do less well under that system?

An unfair question to ask, perhaps. All of us tend to favor whatever system we think favors us, and in extremer cases we could scarcely expect otherwise. Also, once we have developed such a theory, we could spend a decade counting only the confirming evidence for it, and be absolutely convinced over time.

But in came to me while reading Codevilla's story about Laurence Tribe and Elana Kagan.

Well, the fair thing to expose the theory to some pushback would be to look for the opposite. Try to think of people who favor more protected and redistributive systems who would likely do much better in a free market. Try to identify people who are intense free-marketers who would likely have better lives under a system where income was leveled more.


jlbussey said...

I've often thought that people who don't like competition in other aspects, feel that they themselves can't compete. Also, working for the Feds, there's a lot of people here that absolutely hate the idea of merit pay or merit bonuses, because (imho) they know on some level that they don't merit those things. (And what they can't get they don't want anyone else to have.)

Anna said...

I think you have hit the nail on the head here and also described my father to a T. He has tried several times to start a business and failed because he lacks business chops, and now is a public employee who (of course) thinks that he does not get paid enough. IMO, his job performance is subpar but he has a weird idea that he should get paid for who he is rather than what he does. Can you imagine what his opinion of the free market is? lol.

Texan99 said...

I've certainly earned good money from time to time. But generally, what I enjoy producing is so different from what people think they should spend money on that I suspect life could be a whole lot easier for me in something other than a free market.

Tough. I still don't think I'm entitled to anything people aren't willing to trade me freely for. And I don't feel like subsidizing 300 million other people to do their personal thing just so they'll have to indulge me in return.

ELC said...

One of the best comments I've ever read on a blog went something like this: Intellectuals hate capitalism because a high-school graduate who owns two pizza shops makes more money than a college professor does.