By Arnold Kling
From Don Boudreaux.
The fact that each of us depends upon the efforts of millions of others does not mean that some “society” transcending individuals produces our prosperity. Rather, it means that the vast system of voluntary market exchange coordinates remarkably well the efforts of millions of individuals into a productive whole.
To many people, the fundamental conflict in the economy is between the behavior of individuals (selfish, irrational) and the greater good. Shifting power from markets to government represents a move toward the greater good.
The Masonomist grants the selfishness or irrationality of the individual as well as the prevalence of market failure. However, we see a shift in power from markets to government as adverse nonetheless. Individual political leaders have less knowledge than is aggregated by markets. They face perverse incentives. And they pervert the incentives of others. Witness today’s economy, in which everyone is asking not how they can create wealth but how they can get their share of a bailout.