Thursday, June 08, 2006

You can't leave everything to markets...

I tend not to watch or enjoy Rocketboom, but I did enjoy Amanda Congdon’s interview of George Soros

I agree very much with the following:

markets are very good [at] allocating resources among competing private needs, but they don’t take care of common needs, like, preserving the market itself; that requires governmental action…

5 comments:

Ethan said...

Paul, why have you chosen such a politically neutral quote to post from Soros? I think everyone across the spectrum from socialists to libertarians would agree with that. Except for maybe anarcho-capitalists everyone acknowledges that a legitimate function of government is to facilitate just transactions in the market. The prevention and prosecution of fraud, coercion, duress, misprepresentation, etc in market transactions by the government is not exactly controversial.

I do find it interesting that people think Soros is some kind of hero of the downtrodden or something. I thought he made his fortune in a speculative attack on the British Pound that precipitated a recession in Europe and hurt lots of ordinary working folks. But maybe he is trying to make up for it with his philanthropy.

Frank said...

Ethan, that's actually a very powerful quote and it flies in the face of the University of Chicago influence on the entrenched neoconservatives who have a primary goal of tearing down government, privatizing and deregulating public services and letting the "law" of supply and demand dominate. The irony of this position is dulled by the Republican incompetence at governing, but the need for government and the need for taxation to fund it needs reinforcement.

Adolph said...

Ha! It is the money quote, so to speak, from Soros because his market is defined by government action.

Adolph said...

Hey Frank, how can neoconservatives be entrenched? Aren't they new? Apple doesn't even have the word baked into Safari's spell-check.

Mark the Bruce said...

It is inaccurate to assert the "primary goal" of the U of Chicago neocons is to tear down gov't, etc. In fact, Dr. Milton Friedman (Paul Snowden Russell Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Chicago and neocon granddaddy) states quite clearly in Capitalism and Freedom (University of Chicago Press, 1982 reissue)on pp 34-35, "A government which maintained law and order, defined property rights, served as a means whereby we could modify property rights and other rules of the economic game, adjudicated disputes about the interpretation of the rules, enforced contracts, promoted competition, provided a monetary framework, engaged in activities to counter technical monopolies and to overcome neighborhood effects widely regarded as sufficiently important to justify government intervention, and which supplemented private charity and the private family in protecting the irresponsible, whether madman or child - such a government would clearly have important functions to perform. The consistent liberal is not an anarchist.
"Yet it is also true that such a government would have clearly limited functions and would refrain from a host of activities that are now undertaken by the federal and state governments in the United States, and their counterparts in other Western countries."

I find that sentiment to be just as agreeable as the viewpoint offered by Mr. Soros (whose insider trading conviction was upheld by France's highest court last week). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Soros#Currency_speculation

cheers,
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