Wednesday, June 3, 2009

This is what market fundamentalism looks like

At Freakonomics Gary Becker offers his market based vision for poverty relief, and it sounds pretty good.  Problem is that it rarely works the way its disciples imagine.  The irony here is that this is the same utopian mechanism that underpins socialism, the belief that we can be called to our better natures by economic dogmas. Know the system and the system will set us free.  

Neither works perfectly.  I believe in free markets but if we're going to be honest about the history of market economies we should own up to the fact that they don't simply create winners and losers in the short term they enshrine them.  Raising tides of wealth float most boats but inequities in resources and inefficiencies in allocation necessarily create permanent losers which may well be the worst system ever invented expect for all the rest but we shouldn't pretend otherwise.

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