Thursday, September 22, 2011

waste, more generally speaking

...than just politics or advertising in particular. I meant to link to this article yesterday when I stole a wording from it, but it's worth it's own post anyhow. Go read.

(Ignore the "Darwin vs. Adam Smith" thing - the phenomenon in discussion is of course well-known, and in more general terms than to biologists I suspect, to economists. The phenomenon itself and the analogy between how it plays out in the ecosystem and the market is what is interesting.)

(Also, I would strongly disagree with the following claim about modern liberals, aside from that tragically small subset of liberals, or conservatives for that matter, who actually understand markets...: "Like modern liberals, [Smith] saw market failure as rooted in insufficient competition.")

Anyway, enough asides. The point is, if individual competitive interests diverge from the common interest, this can* lead to waste, such as 40-pound antlers or billions of dollars spent on advertising.

(And then he talks about consumption taxes, which is interesting - and nice to see; consumption taxes are left out of the tax policy discussion despite being a great idea...- but I think more than an essay is needed to link that discussion to the earlier one robustly.)

*emphasis on can. The author claims will.**

**Now how is that for a blog post consisting entirely of asides and footnotes?

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