Wednesday, September 17, 2008

They Say Freedom Isn’t Free

I could write for hours on this topic, but it’s easier to copy and paste material from someone who can do it better:
People who prattle on about "the free market" are usually too stupid to have a clue how complicated and pervasive the "rules" had to be to… get a well-functioning modern market system: sophisticated concepts of contracts and enforcement, property rights, legal entities, proper accounting, bankruptcy, limited liability, etc... etc..., did not descend from the heavens but were, in fact, created.
The real issue is that you need a sensible regulatory framework to prevent financial crises from happening in the first place and criteria and practices for dealing with them when they do, along with a sensible and consistent broad social safety net for individuals and families for when crises happen to them.

It might have been the right thing to run down to the river with buckets to collect water to throw on the burning building, but it would have been much better to have better fire codes and a functioning fire department.
It’s always interesting to me how much people rely on “regulations” and laws and courts to make life and everything associated with it run more efficiently and more smoothly, at least in the big picture. It’s fine to argue the merits of rules at the margins; that’s part of the process, a process that needs constant attention and tweaking with changing circumstances. But those who bemoan any kind of “regulation” as a bad thing simply have been spoiled by its benefits. It reminds me of the teenager who whines about their parent’s rules, runs away to be “free”, and then rudely finds out how much they took for granted.

I wish I had a dollar for every person I’ve heard whine about a litigious society and “frivolous” lawsuits only to go running to the courts when they’ve perceive they’ve been aggrieved. Their lawsuit, of course, isn’t so frivolous.

Update: Related, there is this:
One metaphor the Democrats don't use, that I think of over and over when I hear Obama speak about the need for regulation: the markets operate like team sports -- like say, a football game. Team sports don't operate well without referees, and that's exactly what's happened under the Republicans.

...the fact is, the Republicans under leadership of such brain trusts as Phil Gramm have methodically removed the referees from the games, and look what's happened. One of the primary reasons investors shy away from putting money into third world countries is an ABSENCE OF REGULATION.

Why doesn't Obama encapsulate his ideas in this way? Democrats believe in free markets, but free markets need rules and referees, just like a football game does, otherwise chaos and destruction.


Blevins said...

dave, hate to nit-pick, but in the paragraph right above the gavel picture, second sentence, fifth word, you made a most horrible error.

You should have added "ed" to the word "associate."

Dave said...

"ed"? Like "Ed"? As in Mr. Ed? Are you calling me a horse? A HORSE WITH LIPSTICK!? How disrespectful!

I'm Dave of the Eleventh Hour and I approve this comment.