Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Free markets: a continuing story

Capitalism in action:
The NYT has a fascinating piece about threats that Tennessee Republicans are making against Volkswagen if they recognize a union formed by its workers . . . This is an interesting view coming from people who usually claim to be supporters of a free market and to believe that the government should not interfere in the running of a business.
Once again, this goes to the whole question of whether market outcomes are somehow moral.  Given that government is willing to provide pressure to distort the market based on ideology, there cannot be a clean economic meritocracy.  Which is fine -- I think mixed markets have some real benefits from an optimization point of view.

But we should all just note that "we should distort markets because, in the long run, unions in our state will do more harm than good" isn't really all that different in form than the whole idea of government regulation for health, safety, or equality (i.e. minimum wage laws). 

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