By Arnold Kling
In this essay, I discuss the recent piece by Jonathan Chait, who argues that liberals are pragmatic and conservatives are ideological. I write,
The market solution for health insurance is something that has never been tried. I believe that it is possible that the market could come up with a reasonable solution. I would like to see an environment in which some radical alternatives to the current models of health insurance were given an opportunity to prove themselves, before we close off all experimentation by imposing a government solution.
In general, I think that relying on the market is more pragmatic than imposing a government solution. Markets make mistakes, but there is an ongoing trial-and-error process that tends to lead to improvement. Government mistakes tend to become self-perpetuating.
In fact, I think that this modern view of the market–as a trial-and-error process–is more powerful than the neoclassical view of the market–as an allocation mechanism. That is on of the themes of Learning Economics.
For Discussion. Is the case for Social Security reform insufficiently pragmatic, as Chait argues?