Thursday, February 2, 2006

A short lesson on economics and common sense

Jay Jardine on markets vs. democracy:

There is a fundamental difference between obtaining goods through a marketplace versus obtaining goods through a political contest. First off, no one has any incentive to act rationally when everybody else gets served the bill. Consumers that purchase snake oil out of their own pockets are only harming themselves. Customers who spend the effort and do their research wind up with a car, computer or contractor that better satisfies their individual needs. In the cannibal pot of a political market, however, the outcomes affect everyone. Even if the approximately 8 million individuals who chose not to vote in the last two elections spent every single waking hour dissecting the various party platforms and made the most rational political choice they could possibly make would find that at the end of the day they'd still get the same government as everyone else who didn't invest the effort.

1 Comment:

Pietr said...

I'm afraid that 'irrational/rational' criticisms just don't cut it.
Evil cunning follows an internal reasoning all of its own, and it is purposeful in ways that the avoidance of analysis in the term 'irrational' will not protect us from.

To put it another way, we may be laughing at them now, but one night we will suddenly find ourselves flat on our backs with no teeth to laugh with.
And we won't have seen it coming.