Libertarian Ideas for the Mainstream
By Arnold Kling
James Pethokoukis gets snarky about Obamanomics and then offers constructive suggestions, based largely on two e-books, Race Against the Machine and Launching the Innovation Renaissance.
9. Create a patent system with the length of legal protection depending on the cost of innovation and imitation.
10. Establish more innovation prizes.
11. Have fewer kids in college getting liberal arts degrees, more in business-run worker training programs.
12. More investment in basic research, not in crony-capitalist, industrial policy schemes like Solyndra.
Note that Alex Tabarrok’s book also gets a rave review from Steve Landsburg. I read the book on the bus to New York a couple weeks ago, but I think I forgot to review it. Actually, the Bolt Bus is a nice example of innovation. The most remarkable thing about it, to me, is that Amtrak did not get its friends in Washington to make cheap buses illegal.
Libertarians are attacked for fantasizing about libertarian utopias while not offering any practical solutions for poverty or unemployment. Tabarrok’s book offers a counter to this. These are ideas that belong in the mainstream. In fact, of the 12 suggestions that Pethokoukis makes, I think 10 of them ought to be acceptable or attractive to people on the left (I assume the left is not ready to reduce taxes on capital or to embrace market-oriented Medicare reform).
If you really want to govern, you propose sensible ideas that do not push ideological hot buttons. Instead, anyone who harps on inequality strikes me as showing a preference for protesting over governing. Meanwhile, libertarians may be moving in the opposite direction.