Sunday, August 12, 2012

Deirdre McCloskey and the Leftist Narrative of the State

I have been reading about the moral defense of capitalism, through the writings of Deirdre McCloskey. (H/T The Tarquin). On the blog Bleeding Heart Libertarians (tag line: Free Markets and Social Justice) McCloskey responds to criticism of market failures by demanding that those argue for government intervention first prove that government intervention is going to do a better job at solving the supposed market failure than the alternative. Government, being instituted by imperfect human beings is after all, subject to the same failings that sometimes plague the free market; greed, deceit and lust for power. She asks those on the left to consider that their facts might be wrong:
But anyone who after the 20th century still thinks that thoroughgoing socialism, nationalism, imperialism, mobilization, central planning, regulation, zoning, price controls, tax policy, labor unions, business cartels, government spending, intrusive policing, adventurism in foreign policy, faith in entangling religion and politics, or most of the other thoroughgoing 19th-century proposals for governmental action are still neat, harmless ideas for improving our lives is not paying attention.
She goes on to provide a devastating critique of the failures of these forms of statism. Please read the whole article, it is thoroughgoing; but I provide one more paragraph to give you a taste: In the 19th and 20th centuries ordinary Europeans were hurt, not helped, by their colonial empires.
Economic growth in Russia was slowed, not accelerated, by Soviet central planning. American Progressive regulation and its European anticipations protected monopolies of transportation like railways and protected monopolies of retailing like High-Street shops and protected monopolies of professional services like medicine, not the consumers. “Protective” legislation in the United States and “family-wage” legislation in Europe subordinated women. State-armed psychiatrists in America jailed homosexuals, and in Russia jailed democrats. Some of the New Deal prevented rather than aided America’s recovery from the Great Depression.
Indeed, it is hard to think of examples where direct state intervention in the economy has yielded a superior outcome. Best for the state to ensure a level playing field by enforcing contract law, and prohibiting violence and let the market work its magic.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry the era of equal justice is over. Govt in America is being hijacked by progressives who wish to only enforce their laws or emphasize required laws in a way that is unequal.