Author Topic: “Markets fail. That’s why we need markets.”  (Read 840 times)

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Universe Prince

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“Markets fail. That’s why we need markets.”
« on: December 30, 2009, 01:25:23 PM »
http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20091228/cm_csm/270945
         The traditional defenders of free markets have had a rough time getting a hearing lately. After all, it certainly appears as if markets don’t work in any meaningful sense. The Dow rises and plummets in harrowing fashion, the housing market balloons and then craters, financial services firms teeter on the edge of extinction one minute and swing to record profitability the next.

Surely, government can do better.

Or can it? Over the past two generations, a different view of markets and government has begun to emerge, one whose moment may have arrived. It is a view that believes both traditional camps have overlooked some important aspects of markets.

What’s more, it is a view that, if embraced, helps reinterpret market gyrations and government interventions in a way that better reflects reality. The view is subtle, but it has a profound influence on how the public and policymakers should think of markets and, ultimately, the role of government in the economy.

This view can be summarized as “Markets fail. That’s why we need markets.”

This seemingly paradoxical view is based on several overlapping strands of research in economics as it pertains to development, history, technology, business expansion, and new-firm formation. According to this view, entrepreneurs at work in the economy – in finance, high tech, manufacturing, services, and beyond – are constantly experimenting, creating new business models, techniques, and technologies that upend the established order of things.

[...]

Economists call these political entrepreneurs “rent-seekers.” Rent-seekers gain wealth, not by creating it, but by channeling it through political favors. Examples include government-sponsored monopolies, “targeted” tax breaks for special industries, and legislative loopholes inserted by lobbyists.

The boom in housing and mortgage securities that ended so badly was fueled by government policies that were encouraged by rent-seekers in the real estate, home building, and mortgage finance industries.

[...]

Because political failure is less publicly tolerable than market failure, the temptation becomes for policymakers to avoid acknowledging their role in creating or perpetuating problems. Or they double down on bad bets. So rather than recognize the government’s central role in the housing boom and bust and quickly changing its ways, we see the federal policy apparatus continuing to throw good money after bad in the mortgage market and on Wall Street.

Markets fail; but they learn from their failures. That’s why we need markets. Government can promise to guarantee our prosperity; but only markets can really deliver.
         
Your reality, sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever.
--Hieronymus Karl Frederick Baron von Munchausen ("The Adventures of Baron Munchausen" [1988])--

Plane

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Re: “Markets fail. That’s why we need markets.”
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2009, 08:05:22 PM »
That is a provoative thought.

Who does the learning?