Friday, April 03, 2009

Posted for easy linkage

Originally from a Swampland thread:

There is nothing at all surprising about the inability of capitalism to produce a private, free-market health insurance plan that works in favor of the people subscribing to it..

Can we get that engraved somewhere? A big problem with our debates nowadays is that people have had 'free markets' preached to them for so long that they treat it like some kind of magical deity instead of a simple mechanism to allow for the pricing of goods and reasonably efficient way to allocate resources.
There are many problems that markets are unable to solve because no participants have a financial stakes in the solution. I still think that Hog Manure Odor Abatement represents a perfect example but there are many others. Pig farmers don't mind the smell and their neighbors have no recourse but to use government to hold the farmers accountable for the problem. So we can either shut down the hog farms thus directly interfering in the 'market' or create incentives or spend public funds to deal with the problem.
There are way too many people who aren't willing to think such problems through and way too many others who have a strong discentive to even talk about it.
Of course hogsh!^ isn't the only example but ever since John McCain decided to make fun of it, its remained one of the most accessible.

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