Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Confidence in Government from the Right and Left

"[Conservatives like] Charles Krauthammer are just as willing to take over people's lives and rule it for them regarding their use of drugs as the likes of Keynesian economist Paul Krugman do when it comes to people's economic activities. Which confirms just how widespread the impulse is to rule other people, both from the Right and the Left. Neither shows much confidence in human beings – what is odd is that they do show confidence in the most dangerous human beings, governments, who hold guns in their hands."

~Tibor Machan

20 Comments:

At 5/19/2010 8:57 AM, Anonymous morganovich said...

"confidence in government"?

the US constitution and bill of rights are predominantly expressions of a lack of confidence in government.

the shift from viewing the role of government from "protecting the rights of the individual" to "doing what's best" is incredibly dangerous and easy to miss.

it's always tempting to trample on rights to get some near term outcome you desire, but the long term result is always harmful. a government that can take away your rights to do what's best is a tyranny.

 
At 5/19/2010 9:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the shift from viewing the role of government from "protecting the rights of the individual" to "doing what's best" is incredibly dangerous and easy to miss.

False dichotomy. It is possible to do what is best AND protect the rights of the individual.

Insist on Kaldor-Hicks efficiency in every policy. Insist on full and fair compensation.

If a policy has a "positive net social value" then the winners should be able to compensate the losers and still come out better off.

Insisting on protecting the rights of individuals does not mean that government can do NOTHING to improve the general welfare, just that the accounting needs to be more precise, so that no individual is harmed in the process of implementing new policy.

The GAO says there is no reason to implement any policy unless it shows a positive net social value.

The EPA says that no person or party should bear an undue burden do to the implementation, enforcement or lack of enforcement of any environmental regulation.

All we have to do is combine those two ideas, and make it stick, such that we can do what is best and still protect individual rights.

 
At 5/19/2010 10:13 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Insisting on protecting the rights of individuals does not mean that government can do NOTHING to improve the general welfare, just that the accounting needs to be more precise, so that no individual is harmed in the process of implementing new policy"...

Hmmm, forever the socialist...

 
At 5/19/2010 10:21 AM, Blogger Yossarian said...

Perhaps I'm missing something (I'd be the first to admit that leftist intellectualism ponders matters far more deeply than this simple voter does), but I detect a material difference between a government that fines citizens if they do not buy health insurance and a government that, for example, enforces laws designed to keep cocaine from being dispensed at the corner 7-11.

 
At 5/19/2010 10:32 AM, Blogger Paul said...

"[Conservatives like] Charles Krauthammer are just as willing to take over people's lives and rule it for them regarding their use of drugs.."

I'd be inclined to agree if so many druggies didn't become burdens on society. Maybe weed.

 
At 5/19/2010 10:32 AM, Anonymous morganovich said...

anon-

you miss the whole point -

if doing what's right does not violate rights, then fine. my point is that once you start giving "what's best" primacy over rights, you get a slippery slope to tyranny and economic stagnation.

you are clearly in the camp that scares me. arguments of net positive social value and redistribution sound like big government progressive redistribution and socialism. taking from the winners and giving to the losers is not growth optimal. you get a smaller pie to divvy up.

all these KH type systems have failed historically as you get much lower growth and less wealth accumulation. this is why europeans are so poor relative to americans.

we played around with this in iterative game theory experiments when i was an undergrad. KH fails in a multi-period iterative environment. by the end, everyone is worse off than they would have been without it even assuming we have enough information and knowledge to to implement it correctly (which is clearly unrealistic in the extreme)

it's a self defeating ideology, just like the socialism and fascism it represents.

you can make optimal KH decisions over and over and will get a non optimal multi period result by suppressing growth through redistribution altering the expansion of the production possibility frontier. and that's in an optimal world where you actually know the KH efficiency of actions. in the real world, you don't and get huge dead-weight loss and policy rat holes.

 
At 5/19/2010 10:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both parties are indeed big government parties. When will someone actually talk about better, more efficient government? Obama's the only politician since Nixon to talk about it.

 
At 5/19/2010 10:46 AM, Anonymous gettingrational said...

Charles Kruathammer has an unusual perspective as a conservative writing opinions on drugs. He is a former Chief of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. As an MD he is aware of the adverse side effects of groups of drugs. Here is a recent article by him and it shows a fairly modest approach on on modern drugs.

 
At 5/19/2010 10:52 AM, Anonymous Eric H said...

"Obama's the only politician since Nixon to talk about it."

That's not true...why Grant Bosse is all over Obama's "better, more efficient" government...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wW3D7_mxPCA

 
At 5/19/2010 11:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to take morganovich seriously. But seriously, her/his moral relativism is ridiculous and you really can't accept arguments from a person too lazy to not use the shift key.

 
At 5/19/2010 11:15 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Obama's the only politician since Nixon to talk about it"...

Obama? Are you talking about the Obama on planet earth or somewhere else?

Do really mean this incomprehensible fool?

 
At 5/19/2010 12:02 PM, Anonymous morganovich said...

anon-

do you even know what moral relativism is?

i am many things, but certainly no moral relativist. i believe in rights, not relativism.

what on earth are you talking about?

does it strike you as ironic to level accusations of laziness when you are too lazy to pick a name? (or is it that you are too ashamed?)

 
At 5/19/2010 12:21 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

>"If a policy has a "positive net social value" then the winners should be able to compensate the losers and still come out better off."

Do you mean as in this example?

The problem is that "positive net social value" is a pretty subjective idea, and can't actually be measured in any case, until after the fact, when it may be too late.

I don't think Central Planning has done a very good job of determining that elusive value.

 
At 5/19/2010 12:33 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

>"if doing what's right does not violate rights, then fine..."

...just don't take money out of MY pocket to pay for it.

 
At 5/19/2010 12:40 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

>I used to take morganovich seriously. But seriously, her/his moral relativism...

morganovich? moral relativism? you must be confused.

>...use the shift key.

Shift key?...you really don't have anything to contribute, do you.

 
At 5/19/2010 3:22 PM, Anonymous grant said...

Morganivich:
Where can I find details of the 11% rise in the value of the $USD this year

 
At 5/19/2010 3:29 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

I'm from the Soviet Union where the government was spreading "net positive social value" and other meaningless, unmeasurable and subjective crap all over the place. Greece is filled with net positive pareto optimal social justice (I know that makes no sense, but garbage never does no matter how you arrange it).

If you think it's so awesome, just go on over there and live as a citizen.

On a different note....

I've never done drugs, never wanted to and I don't agree with anti-drug laws either. However, having lived in a workers' utopia, I would rather have restrictions on drug use than on my economic activity if that is my choice. Drugs or chewing gum (I'm thinking Singapore here) are not a necessary part of life, but economic activity is.

 
At 5/19/2010 5:55 PM, Anonymous morganovich said...

grant-

one easy metric to use is the UUP, a dollar index. it closed at 23.08 dec 31 2009, and was about 25.40 when i wrote that, which i guess is more like 10%.

the euro ended the year at 1.43, currently 1.24, about a 13% appreciation for the dollar.

i don't have a trade weighted number in front of me.

 
At 5/19/2010 9:54 PM, Anonymous grant said...

Morganavich:

The trade weighted index value of $USD. trade between America and Colombia would not be affected and change by any real measure in free trade agreement negiotions between them.
The strange posting you posted on the Euro/USD pair in which you claimed an approximate rise in value of about 10% $USD does not count for much trade with America from the American side.The real gains will go to the EU and in particular the worlds biggest exporter Germany and it's exports.
The real yardstick for world trade is the Trade Weighted Index and if you would have quoted the $USD value from there you would have seen that it is still in long term decline and has devalued by about 40% in recent times.

 
At 5/20/2010 8:35 AM, Anonymous morganovich said...

grant-

i think you are misunderstanding what i'm saying.

trade weighted, the dollar fell out of bed from 2002-8. i presume it's that to which you are referring.

but since then, it has rallied a great deal. that is what i am talking about.

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/DTWEXB?cid=105

it bottomed just under 95 in 2008. the current reading is 105.2. that's an 11% increase.

http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/data/DTWEXB.txt

it was as high as 115 in 2009, a 21% move off the lows.

it's about to be up significatly again as the canadian dollar is falling out of bed (down over 6% since april 21) and canada is our largest trading partner (though inexplicably weighted below china and the EU in the fed index)

current exchange rates are at levels similar to the late 90's.

 

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