Thursday, December 4, 2014

(Related update): "Why Government Fails and Why Ideas Matter"

Related update:  Yesterday I discovered an 18-minute or so podcast by the Cato Institute featuring Boudreaux discussing the ideas in the article I featured below.  If you haven't read the article yet, a great way to access the ideas is via this podcast; if you have, you'll really enjoy the podcast and find it complements the article beautifully.  Check them both out!

Original post 11/20/14: That's the lead story in the most recent edition of the Cato Policy Report.  The author, OLS hero and George Mason superstar economist Don Boudreaux, provides us with the general answer early in the report:
Yet sensible people need not be expert in formal economics or political science to detect that something is seriously wrong with typical explanations of how government will fix this or that problem. All that people need do is to observe with their minds free of romantic notions about the power and motives of democratically elected politicians. These observers will see many political phenomena that are plausibly explained only on the assumption that government officials aim self-interestedly to promote their own well being — especially by maximizing their tenure in office — rather than aim altruistically to enhance the public welfare.
The rest of the article chronicles the many discoveries by the Public Choice school of economics that help to explain why it is that government interventions into our economic lives almost always fail.  As always with a Boudreaux product, this is well worth your time and effort.