Tuesday, March 14, 2006


This is from the economist and is behind a pay wall. But it sum's up so well why I'm a liberal, I just have to quote it:

The 'free-market' school of liberalism... is animated not by certainty about how to arrange the distribution of income (or about anything much, for that matter) but by regard for individual liberty and by scepticism. Liberty calls for markets because it requires, so far as possible, freedom from coercion: markets are places where people do things voluntarily. Scepticism calls for markets because a million experiments are safer than one big plan handed down by the Chief Engineer: markets weed out mistakes rather than entrenching them; their solutions to economic problems are always provisional, always adapting.

Liberty and scepticism come together in ruling out the idea that society should have any such goal as maximising GDP. The 'free-market' liberal is not so presumptuous. Some people want to maximise their incomes in the market; others want to balance that goal against different aims; still others have no interest whatever in maximising their income, and want to pursue their own idea of the good life in their own way.

I don't think i should quote so extensively, but I doubt they'll kick up much fuss.


Tracy Leigh said...

Sounds good. What if the government could evolve too? Constantly testing and improving new strategies. If we don't like them, we can vote for someone else.

Unfortunately that doesn't work in SA because the majority will never vote for anyone else besides ANC. I can't imagine what would happen here if the government suddenly disappeared. It hasn't worked very well in other African countries where the governments shouldn't really be called as such.

stuart said...

thats a point, and its why despite all the problems i have with it, democracy is better than other form of government.

the trouble is that the incentives for the government are different to our incentives, this is why we are almost never satisfied that they have carried out on their promises. secondly even if the government is well meaning and competent there are massive technical problems that it cant overcome if it assumes control over production. the price of goods reflects masses of information about the market. controling prices means denying access to that info and worse knowledge about what people want.

but of course governments come in better and worse varieties, i'd rather have a competent government.