The Secret History of the Minimum Wage by Diedre McKloskey at Reason
Friedman’s Sampler from the WSJ in 2006
What most people really object to when they object to a free market is that it is so hard for them to shape it to their own will. The market gives people what the people want instead of what other people think they ought to want. At the bottom of many criticisms of the market economy is really lack of belief in freedom itself.
“Fair” is in the eye of the beholder; free is the verdict of the market. (The word “free” is used three times in the Declaration of Independence and once in the First Amendment to the Constitution, along with “freedom.” The word “fair” is not used in either of our founding documents.)
From Don Boudreaux at Cafe Hayek’s Quotation of the Day
American “Progressives” a century ago explicitly rejected the idea that an ordinary person spending his or her own money does so in ways that promote that ordinary-person’s best interest. “Progressives” believed that knowledge of that ordinary-person’s best interest, and the fortitude to pursue it, was possessed reliably only by “experts” (that is, “Progressive” professors, pundits, politicians, preachers, and mandarins). Today’s “Progressives” differ only in being more crafty than their predecessors of a century ago when making the case for the state to superintended the lives of ordinary people. While today’s “Progressives” speak of “nudging” by the state and of government efforts to reduce “phishing for phools,” the contempt that today’s “Progressives” have for the choices and abilities of ordinary people is no less searing than was the contempt felt by “Progressives” of the past.
From Matt Ridley Industrial Policy Can be Regressive
The history of industrial strategies is littered with attempts to pick winners that ended up picking losers. Worse, it is government intervention, not laissez faire, that has done most to increase inequality and to entrench wealth and privilege. For example, the planning system restricts the supply of land for housebuilding, raising property prices to the enormous benefit of the haves (yes, that includes me) at the expense of the have-nots. The government favours private pensions, creates tax loopholes and subsidises farming and the opera.
Why are salaries so high in financial services? Because there are huge barriers to entry erected by government, which hands incumbent firms enormous quasi-monopoly advantages and thereby shelters them from upstart competition. Why are cancer treatments so expensive? Because governments give monopolies called patents to the big firms that invent them. Why are lawyers so rich? Because there is a government-licensed cartel restricting the supply of them. Why do civil servants get so many knighthoods — symbols of inequality? Because they control the supply of them.