It is disappointing that there is one zombie idea that Quiggin does not bury and still buys into: the idea that a government with a lot of coercive power over people’s lives can be trusted to use that power for good ends. In saying this, I am not making the point that many public choice economists make: that governments tend to serve special interests. Indeed, Quiggin’s book references his own 1987 critique of public choice, a critique that I find persuasive. I am making a more basic point: I believe that governments with significant power over people–whether or not the governments are controlled by special interests–are dangerous.
Quiggin has much more faith in government’s benevolence than I do. His zombie view is still stalking the land.
This is from my “Burying Good Ideas,” my review of John Quiggin’s Zombie Ideas: How Dead Ideas Still Walk among Us.
Update: When writing my review, I also listened to Russ Roberts’ interview of Quiggin. I recommend it.