Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why I Am Not a Libertarian

In many ways I am, but I find hard-core libertarianism to be one-dimensional and boring. It has little practical significance because realistically, Galt's Gulch isn't anywhere on the horizon. Advocating libertarianism, in my mind, is useful only if you are trying to shift the center. It doesn't represent a recipe for a long-term successful nation.

Anyway, that all stems from Arnold Kling and Nick Schulz's book From Poverty to Prosperity. I have been enjoying it and wanted to take a quote from their interview with Paul Romer:

One interesting example of a beneficial government action was when the FAA started forcing the airlines to report on-time performance for their flights. This led to really big changes in how the airlines did their scheduling, and on time performance went up dramatically...

Good example of a reform that market participants would likely not have undertaken on their own that has huge benefits for everyone. The book, so far, is full of stories like this, and I have been thoroughly enjoying it. Kudos to Kling and Schulz on a very good story!

1 comment:

Josh Knox said...

However, Nalfebuff and Ayres (also not strict libertarians) mention in "Why Not?" that on-time performance was improved not through better service, but by increasing the posted flight times.

Compared with the totality of knowledge which is continually utilized in the evolution of a dynamic civilization, the difference between the knowledge that the wisest and that which the most ignorant individual can deliberately employ is comparatively insignificant. ~Fredrich Hayek in The Constitution of Liberty