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Re: free-markets in the time of anthrax



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Hi Venugopal,

I read your article on the ipi site.
I would like to discuss the article itself some more.
What is the right forum for that.

As for our current discussion, please see my thoughts
below

--- venugopal <gvvs@nird.ap.nic.in> wrote:
----------------
> 1. Yes, there is no country which is a free market.
> But the idea of
> 'free
> market'
> remains an ideal for some. I tried to analyse the
> flaws in this belief
> in an
> article
> which can be seen in the publications page of ipi.

I think we should discuss this article. Is this the
right forum for that?

> 2. It is not that whoever wants more government
> control is automatically
> a
> leftist. One can also see, for example, that
> fascists or for that
> matter,
> religious fundamentalists
> want total control of government. I think it is time
> we moved beyond any
>
> kind of labels and analysed each issue on its own
> merit.

Well I agree with you - I just wanted to point out
that Charles Schumer is a leftist - and yes there are
many more types who want to control people by force.

Why should we move beyond "labels" - these are words
to identify concepts. How else would you express what
you mean by "socialism" for example.

> What is important is to look into the questions of
> what kind of
> government
> intervention, in what manner and its consequences on
> society at large.

No government intervention in matters other than
national defence and protection of individual rights
is IMHO the best way. Govt will just provide defence
and protection of rights as well as judiciary.

> 3. When you acknowledge that 'free market' has not
> existed anywhere, on
> what
> basis
> would you advocate it to be the ideal which needs to
> be understood as
> something distinct
> from neo-liberalism?

I meant free markets do not exist anywhere "today".
They did exist in
1. US before the 1900s - actually late 1800s.
2. Mid 19th century Britain.
3. Meiji era in Japan (Again in mid 19th century).

The result of this was fantastic growth in the
prosperity of people in these countries.

>I think we can understand the
> Otherwise, how would one explain huge deficit
....
....
> spending being planned by
> US
> government, which
> was exactly what Keynes had prescribed at a
> different historical
> context?

US govt is full of contradictions nowadays.
Let me give you an illustration of what the type of
govt the founding fathers wanted:

In 1792:
The Congress appropriated $15,000 to assist some
French refugees. James Madison wrote disapprovingly,
"I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article
of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress
of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of
their constituents."

(Note: Madison was probably most influential in
writing of the US constitution)

And then in 1854

Franklin Pierce, the 14th president, vetoed a bill to
help the mentally ill saying, "I cannot find any
authority in the Constitution for public charity,"
adding that to approve such spending "would be
contrary to the letter and the spirit of the
Constitution and subversive to the whole theory upon
which the Union of these States is founded."

And then in 1887

President Grover Cleveland, the 22nd and 24th
president, said when vetoing an appropriation to help
drought-stricken counties in Texas: "I feel obliged to
withhold my approval of the plan to indulge in
benevolent and charitable sentiment through the
appropriation of public funds. ... I find no warrant
for such an appropriation in the Constitution."

Do you see any of these guys giving 2 hoots to
Keynesian ideas - "govt spending" (as advocated by
Keynes) was "unconstitutional" for them.

This is just an example of what the original idea of
the role of govt was in the US - a body whose prime
reason for existence was protection of rights and
defense. All else was a matter of private concern.

IMHO that is the only just and appropriate role of any
govt.

To conclude I would say that if we in Inda want
prosperity - we should proceed with firm reasoning and
set our own path - rather than mimicking the west in
what it is doing today.

Thanks
Rohit



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