"Whether one is a conservative or a radical, a protectionist or a free trader, a cosmopolitan or a nationalist, a churchman or a heathen, it is useful to know the causes and consequences of economic phenomena."
George J. Stigler

Anonymous: what it's like being one of five liberfailians in the europe?

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for the Internet is with me; my Facebook and my Tumblr, they comfort me. (Psalm 23:4)

Anonymous: Congrats, your recent summary of Marxist theory is a succinct wonder of clarity and pertinence, although I confess I'm defeated by which of the six senses of "secularly" you mean, unless it be the ultra-rare "century to century," i.e., "steadily." It's otherwise really quite good; the tone is friendly and confident, rather than strident. / Now if I could only grasp how this belief in the ultimate efficiency of unregulated markets is more than a secular faith in a mythical era of free profit.

Yeah I meant “steadily” I didn’t think that usage was “ultra-rare” though. I don’t really know what to make of your last sentence. I think people who talk about a “faith” in markets are like the fundamentalist Christians who call evolution a religion. I’ve heard that “projection” is the one of the few aspects of Freudian psychology that has held up to empirical scrutiny.

raisse420official: What's your opinion on the ideas about free market failures, such as externalities and asymmetrical information? Are they really "free market failures that need government to be fixed" as it can be claimed?

My view is that “market failure” is a coherent argument for why free enterprise does not always produce efficient results. I’m obviously in disagreement with Rothbard on this point. What I would say (echoing David Friedman) is that “market failure” is really a misnomer—what’s traditionally called market failure are problems that can arise in many areas of human cooperation.

I could write out a detailed response but I’m feeling lazy so I’ll defer to David Friedman. I have a video on my channel of David Friedman talking about market failure that’s worth watching. He also discusses private solutions to market failure problems in his Price Theory textbook and also the serious “market failure” that afflicts the political market.

I think the important points are these: 1) Free markets do not always generate the ‘right answer’ from an efficiency standpoint, but private enterprise has had a good record for finding ways around these problems, though definitely not in all cases; 2) Political institutions suffer from much more serious incentive problems. Market failure is really the exception to the rule on the market, whereas market failure in political institutions is the norm.

I’m not saying the government has no role in correcting especially bad market failures, but when deciding to intervene you have to compare imperfect market institutions to imperfect government institutions and in most cases the latter is much more imperfect.

[I]t seems like an important observation that there is a state of mind in which, no matter what your intelligence or rationality level, Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh-style rants against The Left seem justifiable and fun to listen to. I cannot communicate this state of mind and don’t know why it occurs.