Sunday, November 05, 2006

Bastiat Prize

Jamie Whyte and Tim Harford share the Bastiat Prize. Follow the link at the bottom for a selection of essays by all those shortlisted. I've only read a few and this is my favorite so far:
The entitlement-based policies of all the main parties muddle up two quite different goals: one worthy, the other disgraceful. The worthy goal is redistributing wealth. Since a pound is worth more to a pauper than to a millionaire, transfers from the rich to the poor increase aggregate wealth (at least, until the size of the transfer undermines incentives to work). It also helps to avoid civil unrest, which benefits everyone, including the rich.

The disgraceful goal is to compel people to live in ways that they would not choose for themselves, or to buy things they do not think worth the cost. This is precisely the effect of confiscating a large portion of someone?s income and then providing him with services to which he can no longer afford an alternative.
I've linked to this article before.

The Bastiat Prize, "... celebrates journalists and writers whose published articles explain and promote the institutions of free society, emulating the 19th Century French philosopher Frédéric Bastiat."

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