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Thursday, 20 June 2013


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Yes, but did he go on to explain how tariffs work? They work because the people who gain by them are very aware of the gain, and so bribe and bully the politicians into introducing them, whereas most of those who lose by the tariffs are too dim, or ignorant to understand - or just too many, so that the loss per head is small. So the politician gains, at least in the short term, by introducing them.

Remember the great rule of democracy - it's the bloody electorate who are to blame.

I could swear I've read that Wheat Story someplace else, told much more entertainingly. I wonder if Friedman gave a reference.

DM's second explanation nails it. The good that government does is always specific -- some people will profit from it. The harm that it does is always diffuse -- higher costs, an economy that doesn't answer our needs, but no one knows why.

The market is the opposite. The good that it does is general, and the harm that it does is specific. Good free market policies are difficult to achieve in a democracy.

"it's the bloody electorate who are to blame". Those words are engraved on my family crest, DM!

Dom - excellently summarised.

Tongue in cheek - or naive? So what happened in Detroit? - Oh I know, they all retrained to be quantum physicists and heart surgeons.

The rich knew that weren't true, but wheat/cars was a handy way to dump the Red Necks' cost and bank the profit.

All looked a smart idea back in 1996 - perhaps economists' pay should be held back for 10 years so we can see if they really are on the money - or just dumping on the taxpayer. So what current nostrum will bite us on the arse come 2023?

I would suggest, Roger, that it might be Obama-nostrums like 'keep on borrowing, it'll all be alright in the morning'!

I think it was dearieme who said demography was destiny. That explains Detroit...........

If you really want something from economics to talk about in the party, probably nothing like the concept of comparative advantage.

(better before the listener's third drink)

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