Arnold Kling  

Religion and Consumer Protection

Behavioral Politics... The Relevance of the Religious...

I view Bryan's criticism as somewhat rhetorical. I am getting a lot of similar comments. It is as if I were to praise the Internet and someone were to ask me about Josef Mengele and say: See what happens if you support government-sponsored research?

People can benefit from religious beliefs that are false. That makes it more difficult to regulate religious fraud than other types of fraud. (Do we also benefit from holding beliefs about government that are false? In any case, public sector fraud is even harder to regulate.)

I never said that I like the CFPB. I think they did something right in a particular instance. If you think that any support for any government action, however beneficial, has to be judged in light of other potential government actions, that is fine. But just say that. Coming up with more and more potential government actions does not add to the argument.

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COMMENTS (6 to date)
Luther writes:

If I "religiously" believed that the garbage Capital One sold me was beneficial, offering me "peace of mind" since I imagined someone was looking out for me, wouldn't that be enough reason for me to be allowed to purchase, and for Capital One to sell, such garbage?

English Professor writes:

There is, of course, a danger in offering public approval of one aspect of a bad government regulatory regime. The general momentum is towards more and more regulation, and much of this regulation has strong approval among the electorate. If you single out one beneficial aspect of the regulatory regime, it will be seized on by those who support expanded government as confirmation that even people like Arnold Kling support the CFPB! Here's a point worth keeping in mind: regulation is always and everywhere a POLITICAL phenomenon. If you treat it purely as an economic matter, you will be trampled in the dust.

Matt C writes:

I suspect that Bryan took your endorsement of this particular action as a proof of concept of your general argument that financial regulators should have greater and more discretionary powers.

Mike Rulle writes:

"I never said I like the CFPB"

You are being hammered, despite that statement. Your readers and colleagues want a full show trial confession.

Admittedly, I also do not like giving credit to entities whose existence I disaprove. They happened to make a judgment you agree with. That happens.

But as a professor of mine used to say--- "even Hitler liked dogs". Of course, this is not a Hitlerian situation!!! If you really do not like the CFPB, you could (should?) have made that more explicit---or just admit you are opened minded about it---and tell everyone to go................

ThomasL writes:

Is it true that people can benefit from religious beliefs that are false?

Hugh writes:

In an ideal world we would have well qualified private firms that would review consumer products (financial and otherwise) and warn consumers subscribed to their services of the dangers of poor products.

In our world this may happen for washing machines, but not so much for financial products.

Hence the field is open for a government agency to hit the occasional home run.

We libertarians need to understand that we are starting from zero, and avoid judging the world against some impossible and non-existent yardstick.

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