Arnold Kling  

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Not as Rich as We Think... Sumner on World Economic Growt...

His book is not out yet. Meanwhile, you can listen to the talk. I like the analogy (due to his wife) between believing in free enterprise while distrusting business to believing in marriage while distrusting husbands.

Or you can read the op-ed.


no matter how the issue is posed, not more than 30 percent of Americans say they believe we would fare better without free markets at the core of our system. When it comes to support for free enterprise, we are essentially a 70-30 nation.

Today there is a very real threat that the 30 percent coalition may transform our great nation forever. I hope this threat will clear our thinking enough to bring forth leaders -- regardless of political party -- with our principles at heart and the ideas to match. If free enterprise triumphs over the quest for political power, America will be the stronger for it.


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COMMENTS (4 to date)
Rebecca Burlingame writes:

Good article. Yes, the 30 percent could transform economic landscapes but unfortunately not the way people imagine. Governments can only print money with no real wealth creation to back it for so long. The way the 70 percent can win the cultural battle is by finding specific ways to make economies happen again at local levels.

Mercer writes:

From the op-ed:

"Earned success is the creation of value in our lives or in the lives of others. Earned success is the stuff of entrepreneurs who seek value through innovation, hard work and passion."

Does this include things like synthetic CDOs? That is how much of the wealth is created today.

He notes correctly that housing caused the current mess but he says nothing about how to change our housing policy so it does not reoccur. Meanwhile the FHA is giving out loans which require only a three percent down payment.

" we see tea partiers demonstrating against the government's encroachment on the free enterprise system and protesting the fact that the state is spending too much money bailing out too many people. Why are people protesting in Greece? Because they want the government to give them even more."

I saw protesters saying any attempt to slow the growth of Medicare spending amounted to death panels. How is that different from Greece?

He does not like the response to the housing and financial crisis and offers nothing on how to prevent it from happening again. In his archives at AEI I see that before and during the meltdown he wrote nothing about housing or the financial system. Instead he wrote about how conservatives are better people because they give more to charity.

He prefers to ignore tough issues so he writes simple morality essays. When this is what the head of a conservative think tank publishes you should not be surprised that liberal ideas are being implemented. I don't see why you take him more seriously then someone who writes fairy tales.

MernaMoose writes:

Whatever the American people may think, the question that matters is: will we get leaders to follow through on what the people think.

Right now I wouldn't even try to guess how that's going to pan out, but the odds seem to be more against than for.

The problem is that the people we most need to send to Washington, are the people who least want to be there. What rational, productive individual wants to stop being productive and go live in that cess pool?

Show me how to solve that problem, and I'll believe there's reason to hope.

Kurbla writes:

The question:

    Generally, do you think people are better off in a free market economy, even though there may be severe ups and downs from time to time, or don’t you think so?

answered "yes" with 70-30 could be misleading. People claim they are better off with free market, but it doesn't imply they want more free market. Likewise, many (majority?) of libertarians believe that it is better with state than without it, but it doesn't mean they want "more state" in actual reality.

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