Thursday, September 10, 2009

Anatomy of an Economic Ignoramus (Tom Woods)

Tom Woods takes a blogger to task over his idiotic attack piece on Peter Schiff (as usual for Dr. Woods, he gives some great, easy-to-understand arguments on the merits of the free market):

We all encounter more than our share of foolish blog posts. Most of the time you simply have to let them be. You could spend the rest of your life correcting drones and automatons who will never have an original or unconventional thought no matter how much you prod them. Their seventh-grade teacher, who was also the track coach, taught them what they know, and they're sticking to it.

Once in a while, though, for your own sake and for the sake of readers who suspect the post is all wrong but aren't quite sure why, you let loose with a full-blown response. And that's what I'm doing here in reaction to a blog entry called "Peter Schiff: Medicare Recipients Are Lazy People Who Refuse to Pay for Their Own Health Care."

This is longer than my usual pieces, but I hope I am not trying the reader's patience too much. In block quotes are the words of a blog author who identifies himself, interestingly enough, simply as "Che."

Here we go.

I love it when right wing economists talk about "market forces" and "letting the free market run our economy." They make it sound like the free market is some altruistic being that always knows exactly what to do and when to do it.

I do not know of anyone who subscribes to this junior-camper caricature. For one thing, no free-market economist is dumb enough to use a phrase like "letting the free market run our economy." The free market is merely the matrix of free exchanges entered into by individuals. How can a matrix of free exchanges "run" anything?

Secondly, no free-market economist thinks the market "always knows exactly what to do and when to do it." If that were the case, how could free-market economists account for firms that go out of business?

Read the rest

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