The Counsel of Trent

writing is thinking

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Market Regulation: A Plea for Sanity

From a recent online exchange in which I try to discern with those on the Left and Right of me are arguing about:

(T) The world’s poor would be better off with more regulation in the US than there currently is.

I think Hayak refutes that. The Risse paper shows that the world is a much better place than it was in 1980, despite much deregulation under Regan and in part because if US Military support strengthening political infrastructure. Still (T) is ambiguous, for suppose someone thinks, as indeed I do think, that some parts of the US economy are over-regulated and others are under-regulated, or that some areas are over-regulated in some respects and under-regulated in others. For example I think that much insurance is way over-regulated in that it does not permit Doctors to forgive debts, yet I think it is also under-regulated because I think there is price-gouging on premiums. So does that make me liberal or conservative, a (T)-defender or a (T)-detractor. From the beginning I’ve said that the whole debate if framed wrong, since framed in glittering or not-so-glittering generalities. The Devil is in the details and so if you want to root him out of the economy, I suggest you look where he resides. This is the lesson of my continual reminders that we are all at different points on the same spectrum and share essentially the same background theory. The only fruitful discussion to have is about *particular* policies. Totalitarianism and anarchism only work in Heaven (where, paradoxically, they are one) and on earth finding the sweet-spot of just enough regulation is a fool’s errand. So we are turned once again to the particulars. So I don’t have an interest in discussing generalities and I don’t have the time to discuss particulars, so I’m not going to discuss economics for now. However, I suggest that those who do consider the way they go about doing so.

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