Sunday, November 20, 2016

Misuse of "conservative" and "free market”

Letter to New York Times public editor

I wish writers would more carefully use the terms “conservative” and “free market”.

Those labeled with these terms, by self or others, are too often neither.

Are “conservatives” thoughtful and cautious about change, or are they rigid in whatever their views?  For example, “conservative” religious sects are more often throwing the first stone rather than feeding the poor.  Do “conservatives" really follow the Constitution as it currently exists, or are they “activists” interpreting it to suit their own views?  “Persons” are corporations?  “People” in the Second Amendment are now persons.  “Regulate Commerce” is totally ignored.

As to “free market”, it is too often meant to mean corporations should be free to do what they please without government interference.  Adam Smith must be spinning in his grave as those who live by profit (not to be trusted) buy so many politicians with money or a barrage of misleading statements.

A true free market

Has many buyers and sellers
Both buyers and sellers are free to enter or leave the market
Both buyers and sellers have all the information they need to make a decision
All costs are paid for in the transaction, that is, there are no externalities.

Too many “free marketers” want as few sellers as possible, do their best to lock buyers into the market, find out as much as possible about buyers but hide or provide false information to the buyers, and ignore all the externalities like pollution and bad diets.

See “The Invisible Adam Smith”,