The New Threat to Economic Freedom by John B. Taylor


With politicians proposing policies that would dramatically expand the size of government and its involvement in the economy, it’s clear that too many Americans have forgotten the lessons of the twentieth century. As Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman pointed out long ago, deviating from market principles is a recipe for disaster.

STANFORD – In our new book, Choose economic freedom. But we also recognize that it is difficult to achieve economic freedom: one must always be on the lookout for new obstacles.

Many of these obstacles are just arguments rejecting the ideas that underpin economic freedom – the rule of law, predictable policies, reliance on markets, attention to incentives, and limitations imposed. to the government. If an idea doesn’t seem to work, it needs to be replaced. Thus, it is argued that the rule of law should be replaced by arbitrary government actions, that the predictability of policies is overestimated, that administrative decrees can replace market prices, that incentives do not really matter, and that government does not need to be restricted.

These obstacles were common in the 1950s and 1960s, when socialism crept in everywhere. Many have tried to stop the trend, and many have succeeded. But the same obstacles are reappearing now. For example, there are renewed calls for things like professional licensing, restrictions on wage and price setting, or government intervention in domestic and international trade and finance.

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