Financial markets, product markets, labour markets: What markets do we need to over-regulate, or under-regulate?

Why regulate markets at all? Conventional wisdom about the optimal level of market regulation can be neatly summarized in this paragraph. According to the gospel of Milton Freidman, nothing that can allocate limited resources better than a completely unregulated market, and any attempt to regulate or control it will reduce the efficiency of the market. Friedrich Hayek… Read More Financial markets, product markets, labour markets: What markets do we need to over-regulate, or under-regulate?

Exactly what type of speech is “free” in a stable democratic society, and what type isn’t?

Arguments for and against free speech are bandied about quite loosely as of late. Recent arguments against free speech include provocation as the cause of the Charlie Hebdo terrorist incident, and insensitivity to the emotional fragility of others when talking about touchy subjects. On the other hand, arguments for free speech often speak of the need to… Read More Exactly what type of speech is “free” in a stable democratic society, and what type isn’t?

Heinlein’s definition of civic virtue as the basic difference in morality between markets and government

Civic virtue is taken to extreme levels by Robert Heinlein in his 1959 sci-fi classic Starship Troopers. But, in doing so, he captures the essence of it in human nature, the necessity of it government and the mirror opposite of it in markets. This contrasts the morality of individuals in different contexts: public interest in… Read More Heinlein’s definition of civic virtue as the basic difference in morality between markets and government

Protecting the free state from totalitarianism: Machiavelli and the use of public indictments in maintaining liberty

“No authority more useful and necessary can be granted to those appointed to look after the liberties of a state than that of being able to indict before the people or some magistrate or court such citizens as have committed any offence prejudicial to the freedom of the state.” Niccolo Machiavelli, The Discourses, 1.VII In… Read More Protecting the free state from totalitarianism: Machiavelli and the use of public indictments in maintaining liberty