How do you say "Austerity for Liberty" in Greek?
By Alberto Mingardi
In one of his most thought-provoking posts ever, Bryan Caplan argued that
Instead of pushing for “constructive” free market reforms, libertarians should doggedly focus on austerity: opposing spending increases, and pushing spending cuts. (…) If libertarians have any political success, this will automatically expand the role of the market. After all, the less government does for people, the more they will do for themselves.
One of the most egregious examples of government intervention is state television. Government-owned television networks show two remarkable features of government programmes: resilience, and growth in resilience. In a recent paper, Vito Tanzi maintains that regularities show us that “most government programmes, especially those without clear sunset provisions, tend to grow and become more expensive over the years”. A corollary to this is that most government programmes stay in place, even when the invoked rationale for them “expired”, for example because of advancements in technology. The very existence of a government-owned TV network modifies the competitive landscape, influencing the private competitors’ behavior too – if they’re allowed to enter this line of business.
Now comes interesting news from Greece. The government has closed down the government broadcaster ERT. Apparently, the government spokesman has called the ERT “a haven of corruption of waste”. “At a time when the Greek people are enduring sacrifices, there is no room for delay, hesitation or tolerance of sacred cows.” Well, better late than never.