Saturday, July 03, 2010

The Grand Game


I think there are some silly mistakes here. But there are also some insights. And the animation is tremendous.

However, all the actual insights are Public Choice insights. Marx was, after all, the first public choice theorist. The basic Marxist syllogism is this: 1. If government is powerful... 2. Then in a democracy that government will be dominated by business interests. 3. Therefore, get rid of private business.

The "if" part (1) and the "then" part (2) are both substantially correct, actually. But the "therefore" part is dumb. The correct "therefore" is:

Therefore, get rid of powerful government, which mostly restrains competition. Competition won't be perfect, and in fact there will be problems like those in 2008-9. But the problems will be much smaller, and of shorter duration, without the meddling of powerful and self-interested government agencies.

(Nod to Kindred, from here)


ardyanovich said...

What about reducing the ability of business to become large (I'm not knowledgeable on this topic, but I have the impression that there are some types of business frameworks, e.g., the corporation, that enable businesses to become larger than they would be if they weren't given favorable treatment by the government.)? If businesses remain relatively small, then perhaps more of us become business owners and therefore the ability of business to dominate the government won't be a concern since there wouldn't be much of a distinction between business and "the people".

Tom said...

ardyanovich said large businesses use Government to bully small business, therefore get rid of large business. Therefore??

So long as governments can bully, someone will use that power. That's what the libertarian movement is all about: put chains on that power. If everybody gets an even break, then a steel mill might still need to be big, but they couldn't bully the welding shop in your city, because there's no one able to say you cannot buy steel from Poland or Australia.

Dirty Davey said...

The Mungowitz "therefore" somehow assumes that in the absence of powerful government, business interests will be unable to gain the power they would (mis-)use by controlling a powerful government.

Maybe power will accrue to business interests regardless of the strength of government, and having a (powerful, democratic) government as part of the power structure provides slightly more protection for the public interest than is found when business dominates by other means?

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ardyanovich said...
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