The Verdict in Hand, Merely the Charge Differs
I’m getting too used to Twitter, so the idea of a full-length blog post is less attractive today than in the past. On the other hand, a solid blog post probably has a lot more influence today than it did at the height of blogging before social media really kicked into gear.
I wanted to toss some questions out there to you:
- It is very often asserted that voluntary exchanges are not really voluntary. I get that. But think about the extreme versions of employment relationships that make up the major “criticisms” of market economies. How prevalent is worker oppression that is the locus of so much consternation? Even take companies like Walmart – with something over 1 million employees. How badly are those workers treated? And are human conditions so bad in America that people are “forced” just like child workers in poor countries, to offer up their services to Walmart sort of like modern indentured servants? I’m not talking about you hearing about someone who heard about someone who once saw a documentary at Walmart. Look around you. Go to places you are not familiar with and walk around. Just how “bad” is it? And compare that to other institutions, or places.
- It is very often asserted that markets are prone to concentration (I may agree) but that this concentration leads to bad consumer outcomes. But, what are the major concerns with the gigantic firms of Google and Facebook and … Amazon. Are they taking over search and social media and retailing, and then once they are in control with then exercise their brutal monopoly power over us? I argue that one of the blessings of our modern (rich) world is that there are substitutes for just about everything.
- It is very often asserted that allowing people to freely choose their professions and to freely choose whom to buy from and whom to sell to and where to take capital from, and so on, will result in major amounts of inequality. Do you notice it? I am not saying that you sort of read an excerpt of a book review of someone who maybe read a piece of Picketty’s book – I mean, look around you. Is inequality more serious than it was 10 or 20 or 30 years ago? When you “see” the “top 1%” are those the same people from 30 years ago? When you see a young college graduate, do you see someone who has no chance of earning their way into the top 20% or 10% or 1% in their lifetime? Do you also not see anyone with a good income today having the potential to earn less tomorrow? Do they NOT plan to retire?
- When you think of Mississippi … do you fear that all jobs and all capital and all economic activity in America is going to make its way there in a race to the bottom? After all, the US is a giant free trade zone. Goods, people, capital, can move with no permission across state lines. Labor market conditions and environmental conditions and unionization conditions are different in every state. Is there a great American race to the bottom (in politics maybe)?
- Is Mississippi household income greater than Spain’s? Italy’s? France’s? Is it the same as the Netherlands?
- Are the countries in Europe that we so envy actually not capitalist? What are business taxes and regulations like in Sweden and Denmark, for example? Sure, labor rules are more restrictive, but …
- Why has China been getting richer over the past 40 years? Is it because they have become more statist, more collectivist, less property rights focused?
- When markets go really, really, really, really bad … what do you get? When central planning and Jacobian Socialism go really, really, really bad … what do you get?
- Do you remember the great Socialist achievement, where over a 30+ year period that system was a crucial component to lifting 1 billion people out of extreme poverty?
- Do you remember the great famines caused by markets?
We could obviously go on …