Bryan Caplan  

A Charitable Parable

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From Matt Zwolinski:

Guy stuck on the side of the road. Car tire blown out. Waves down passing car.

Libertarian/Marxist in the car: "Sorry, buddy. What we need is structural change. In a [Communist Utopia/Freed market], there would be far fewer blown out tires, you know!"

Drives on by...



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COMMENTS (13 to date)
Demosthenes writes:

The liberatarian isn't wholly wrong, though. In a freed market, the stuck guy probably owns a cell phone and has roadside assistance.

MikeP writes:

And in a communist utopia, the stuck guy probably doesn't have a car.

Prmkff writes:

Wow. I wonder if the point of the parable was maybe that it doesn't matter whether they're right or wrong? At least not to the guy flagging down cars right now.

Marc F Cheney writes:

"It's a fair cop."

Eric Sweeney writes:

As a libertarian, I make the comment and then voluntarily help the guy. Not wanting to help people through government force doesn't mean not wanting to help people!

Jeff writes:

An economist would recognize changing tires was not his comparative advantage, so he'd hand the guy $50 to call a tow truck and then drive away.

MingoV writes:

Libertarian/Capitalist in car: I can help you change the tire or give you a ride for a fee that's open to negotiation.

ThomasH writes:

The passerby should help repair the non-structural component of the tire.

MikeP writes:

Keynesian in the car: "Sorry, buddy. This is an AD problem. You are in need of some inflation, but unfortunately you're in a liquidity trap!"

Ken P writes:

Keynesian #2: "Sorry buddy, you must have run over a government placed nail. Aggregate Tire Pressures were too high, your sacrifice contributed to the solution."

So Matt is saying that libertarians are exceptions to the theory of moral sentiment?

Carl writes:

This makes sense because everyone is a disembodied, decontextualized, politically determined consciousness before they are helpful, jerkish, human, whatever.

Oh, it's meant to be funny?

Himanshu Sanguri writes:

I like the comment "And in a communist utopia, the stuck guy probably doesn't have a car".

Delphin writes:

And what about those Libertarians who would admit all would-be immigrants equally?

[broken link fixed--Econlib Ed.]

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