Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A quick response to Mark

I am travelling again with limited email access but I wanted to comment on this point by Mark:
Proprietary data that could be used without the privacy restrictions the government imposes would be worth an incredible amount of money. Despite all that trying, though, no private data source comes close. I realize that the Cato Institute might not like to hear this, but this is one of those cases where the private sector tried to do something the government does and couldn't do it as well.
I am increasingly annoyed at either pro-government extremists (Marxists) and anti-government extremists (Randians).  It is quite clear to me that, as a society, neither approach will work and that a pure version of either vision is difficult to find (we can argue about edge cases like "failed states" but I am not sure that really addresses the major point).

Now it will always be the case that some groups in society will do better with more or less government.  For example, the extremely wealthy are not impressed by the benefits of social security given how unlikely they ar to need this money.  On the other hand, infrastructure developers are probably not delighted by all of the ways that we put in veto points for development projects to weaken the power of government.

But it would be very helpful for the debate if we just admitted that some tasks were better done by some approaches?  Governments have a very hard time with the art of shopkeeping and keeping prices in line without free market price discovery.  Private individuals will have a tough time fielding a modern army.

Why not try to limit the argument to the middle where there is a lot of room to disagree?

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