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Cogent,concise and entertaining free market essay
on 30 March 2013
Essentially a pamphlet that might take the average reader a little less than half an hour of effort to get through. There are two central ideas here. Firstly and not surprisingly, markets 'do it 'better. If a good or service needs to produced at all or in sufficient quantity,then reduce regulation, allow prices to provide incentives by getting the government to leave citizens and businesses alone. Secondly and as importantly,is the notion of 'concentrated benefits and diffuse costs' as a way of explaining the inertia of government bureaucracy. Namely that there are too many interested parties in maintaining the status quo. As the costs are spread amongst millions of tax payers, any expansion of government spending is barely noticed by citizens. So tax payers,especially if they are the beneficiaries of governmental largesse will either be neutral or welcoming of such generosity.
Freidman has a direct, unvarnished prose style, but there is also a hint of humour and humanity to level matters. For instance he asks the question, if the industry can produce all the cars needed,why is the production of roads by government not able to keep up with demand? Obviously, the government has failed. He is of course being disingenuous. Roads require planing, consent of stakeholders and evaluation of possible social and private need. Witness what happens when planning and the rights of citizens are ignored- the various railway booms of mid-Victorian Britain, where lines were constructed that had little or no chance of being profitable, leading to spectacular financial loss and a degraded countryside. Similar issues exist in many Less Developed Nations where land rights are ignored, leading to loss of habitat, social inequity and a lack of possible investment. So, government must some role to play, the exact question is , just how much?
'Why Government is the Problem' is a persuasively written and illuminating essay, that would especially appeal to those readers who would like to dip their intellectual toes in the clear water of free market economics.