The Rhetoric of Rights and Permission
By Art Carden
Earlier today, I blogged about Adam Thierer’s Permissionless Innovation. Over the last few months, I’ve been struck by how frequently I hear public policy questions expressed in terms of granting permission: should we allow people to earn such high incomes, should we permit people to use certain kinds of drugs, should [companies] be allowed to [thing I find objectionable]?
I find it particularly interesting given that framing effects are almost certainly important here. Consider the ongoing debate over the sharing economy that Roberts & Munger discussed on EconTalk. “Should we allow people to rent out rooms in their houses to travelers” and “should we allow anyone who wants to to drive a cab” sounds a lot nicer than “should we punish people with fines and jail time for renting out rooms in their houses to travelers” and “should we punish people with fines and jail time for accepting money in exchange for rides?”
What are some examples you’ve come across?