Available Now! (click cover)

America's Counter-Revolution
The Constitution Revisited

From the back cover:

This book challenges the assumption that the Constitution was a landmark in the struggle for liberty. Instead, Sheldon Richman argues, it was the product of a counter-revolution, a setback for the radicalism represented by America’s break with the British empire. Drawing on careful, credible historical scholarship and contemporary political analysis, Richman suggests that this counter-revolution was the work of conservatives who sought a nation of “power, consequence, and grandeur.” America’s Counter-Revolution makes a persuasive case that the Constitution was a victory not for liberty but for the agendas and interests of a militaristic, aristocratic, privilege-seeking ruling class.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

The Market Does Not Ration!

Why do economists, even those who favor the free market, call what the market process does "rationing." When you choose, because of the price, to buy four pounds of hamburger rather than eight, that is not rationing. Rationing is when an authority says you can only buy four. It indicates a conscious process of allocation of other people's property. The market is not a conscious process. Rather it's a bunch of people engaging in conscious exchanges involving their own property to improve their situations. That's very different.

I think it does the case for the market harm to call what it does rationing. The other side can say: "I agree. But the market is a cold, impersonal rationer. We need a kinder, gentler rationer: the State."

I don't think we should want those to be the terms of the debate.

Later thought: When I enter a store and spend $50 rather than all I have, would we say I rationed my money to the store owner? Who would talk like that?

1 comment:

Victor Milán said...

Excellent point.

Might it not be an indication of how far political debate has wandered from reality - assuming it was ever close - when one can plausibly posit an argument such as, "We need a kinder, gentler rationer: the State"?

We know people say things like that. Have they never been to a DMV? When does the state do anything in a kind and gentle way?