Economics Lessons from the Ministry of Silly Walks
By Art Carden
I’ve filmed a lot of videos for the Institute for Humane Studies’ LearnLiberty project. They just released my favorite one today:
This is an attempt to address what, I think, is the fundamental pedagogical problem the economics profession faces: the median voter doesn’t support subsidies and the like because he or she has a nuanced and subtle understanding of market failure. The median voter is enthusiastic about subsidies because he or she hasn’t learned the lessons Frederic Bastiat tried to teach us in the 1800s.
Even when people are economically literate enough to know the conditions under which markets can be said to fail, they rarely carry the analysis far enough. James Buchanan, F.A. Hayek, and Elinor Ostrom, for example, aren’t taken as seriously as they deserve to be in discussions of intervention. Steven Horwitz and I discussed the case against “market failure” arguments for intervention in one of April’s EconLib featured articles.
Speaking of Steven Horwitz, the video above has its roots in a question Steve asked on Facebook a couple of years ago: “is Art Carden the John Cleese of LearnLiberty?” I found the comparison extremely flattering, and it gave me the idea for the video.
Disclosure: IHS pays me for what I do for them.