By Bryan Caplan
This morning on Wisconsin public radio, I had the odd experience of being lectured by a caller about the virtues of markets. By extolling the wisdom of the economics profession, I led a Ron Paul supporter to conclude that I favored central planning by a committee of economists. Yes – I’ve been targeted by the not-so-vast libertarian conspiracy.
The experience did drive home an interesting point, though. If economists were really just another special interest, we would be promoting central planning by “us experts.” The remarkable thing about the economic consensus is precisely that it highlights the social benefits of leaving the market alone. Central planning would give the economics profession vast wealth and power, yet we still say it’s a very bad idea.
In short, the Self-Interested Voter Hypothesis fails for economists, just as it does for the broader public.