Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Why Doesn't Anyone Understand the Free Market?

Whilst scouring the Interwebs this fine morning for grist for the blog, I noticed something, something rather disquieting.

It seems that no one understands how a free market economy works.

I noticed this primarily from the comments sections on a couple of news posts. Assuming that the Axeltrolls weren't out in force (something which can never be dismissed), a large part of our current problems are the result of a basic lack of knowledge about how things should be done economically.

When it comes to economics, we're dumber than a box of rocks.

We're doing it wrong.

I'll carbon-date myself once again and say I can remember when basic economics was taught in schools. Home economics was once a part of every school's curriculum, although it was concentrated mostly in the kitchen. But reading the comments in a few of the articles this morning really drove the point home. namely that we've a nation of economic morons.

We can't even look back at history and see what worked to boost our economy and duplicate it.

I'm still trying to figure out how people came to think that the federal government can directly create jobs. This is the primary fallacy that too many Americans are laboring under. All the government can do is create government and government jobs.

Once upon a time, the public knew the difference between the roles of the public and private sectors and the twain rarely, if ever, met in the free market. One sector created wealth and jobs, the other diverted those financial resources away from the market towards government. That's still true today, yet most folks don't understand it. If they did, perhaps they'd be a bit more discerning about who they elected to public office and would seek out people with a firm understanding of market forces and how government can only restrict them, not create them.

When the two started to merge is when we started our economic decline. The last time we had anything close to a free market was Reaganomics, which was strangely called "voodoo" by some at the time, despite the results. And the results were the largest peacetime expansion of the Americans economy ever.

We can't even recognize the benefits or results of sound economic policy anymore. At least, a lot of people can't. Most of them are politicians. Funny, that.

The problems with current economic theory (at least as it's practiced in Washington today) have nothing to do with economics. The biggest one is the concept of "fairness," whatever that means. Whoever proposes an economic playing field that's "fair," wasn't told one of life's largest truths: It Isn't Fair.

Life never was, it is not now, nor will it ever be fair.

That's just the way it is, and you can either accept that and work within that basic understanding, or you can try to make things fair. On a national level, this equates to a distortion of economics and an increase in regulations in order to "level the playing field." Ask yourself if, after a couple of generations of this kind of faulty thinking, the playing field is level today.

An outgrowth of this false theory of life is the misguided effort on the part of politicians to assure equality. A noble pursuit in one's personal life, but a disaster when it's part of an attempt to engineer a free society. This type of feel-good-ism is particularly evident today in children's organized sports, where everyone is a winner whether they are or not, all kids receive a trophy whether they excelled or not, and the score isn't even kept.

So, how's that working out? Is everyone happy yet?

That's what I thought.

I'd like to spend a bit more time exploring this subject, but work beckons. I think you all understand where I'm heading with this, though. It's not rocket science.

But then again, maybe it is. If a rocket is constructed the right way, in accordance with all the known laws of physics by folks with the proper knowledge, filled with fuel and pointed in the right direction, it will get to wherever it is that's it's pointed.

Is that what you see today?

If the fundamentals aren't sound, the rocket will never get off the ground.

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