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Hullabaloo


Thursday, March 06, 2014

 
Let's play a game: libertarian professor of economics, or crazy man on street corner?

by David Atkins

Let's play a game. I'm going to blockquote an article, and you tell me who you think wrote it.

Here you go:

1. As I've argued in detail here, poor healthy adults in the First World are largely undeserving. Indeed, few are even objectively poor; just look at the many luxuries the American poor typically enjoy.

2. People who used to be healthy adults in the First World are also largely undeserving. As long as they were healthy enough to work for a couples of decades, the vast majority could have easily saved enough (or purchased enough insurance, annuities, etc.) to protect themselves from unemployment, accidents, sickness, old age, and other perennial troubles.

...

In sum: The stages of blame, combined with basic facts about poverty, are deeply consistent with a radical libertarian critique of the status quo. Modern social democracies force their citizens to help their countrymen even though the latter are largely undeserving - and often not really poor. The most that could be justified is a rump welfare state that helps poor children and people who develop severe health problems early in life. At the same time, social democracies deliberately and massively increase global poverty by banning employment contracts between citizens and foreigners.

Like it or not, much-maligned U.S. Gilded Age poverty policies - minimal government assistance combined with near-open borders - were close to ideal. And the broadly-defined poverty policies of much-beloved post-war social democracies are morally perverse - enforcing absurdly inflated moral duties toward poor citizens while slandering poor foreigners as criminals for using the most realistic strategy they have to avoid poverty: getting a job in the First World.
?
Hazard a guess? Some random radical crank with a blog? Random nut on the Internet? Crazy man waving signs on a street corner?


Nope. It's Bryan Caplan, Professor of Economics (!) at George Mason University. Here's his brief bio:

Bryan Caplan is Professor of Economics at George Mason University and Senior Scholar at the Mercatus Center. He is the author of The Myth of the Rational Voter: Why Democracies Choose Bad Policies, named "the best political book of the year" by the New York Times, and Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids: Why Being a Great Parent Is Less Work and More Fun Than You Think. He has published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the American Economic Review, the Economic Journal, the Journal of Law and Economics, and Intelligence, and has appeared on 20/20, FoxNews, and C-SPAN. He is now working on a new book, The Case Against Education.
This nutcase is actually teaching impressionable students economics of all things, and getting published in all the big papers.

This is part of why we can't have nice things. A person this morally insane and ignorant of both history and economics shouldn't be anywhere near a classroom or a publishing house.


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