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A person could also infer from that paragraph that all social and moral questions are just another class of externalities. Human rights, e.g. bodily and relational autonomy, figure in the calculus only as efficiencies or inefficiencies.

Consequently, democracy or fascism is good or bad only to the extent that it empowers or impedes the market, which itself is, and of right ought to be, otherwise completely indifferent to forms of government.

I’d say that, if a person is poised to embrace that sort of conclusion, they ought to go back and re-examine their priors.

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Yup!

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I used to subscribe to Economist... on the last few pages of every issue they had graphs & statistics that year-in-year-out-without-fail put the Nordics at the top of nearly every measure of socio-economic success. While the rest of the issue continued to harp on the evils of state meddling. It was funny for a while.

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:-)

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Since I have limited reading time, could someone establish the meta question of the value of reading anything in The Economist?

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The people who write such things for the Economist reveal abundantly that they were not educated in economics. What they have in those quotes is slogan mongering. No respectable principles course or a principles book in economics would teach that. Never mind the laziness/obfuscation/malpractice in the use of "toxic."

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I agree that the economic story of the 21st century is that the government, directly or indirectly, sets the course and quantity of economic activity. For better or worse, the public is now along for the ride.

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A quibble: I think we can trace neoliberal rise in US government to the Carter Administration, and its deregulation efforts. However beneficial (and there are arguments there), I seem to recall that it was driven by neoliberal perspectives.

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I believe that although they didn't originate the purported axiom, Neoliberalism assumes "the poor will always be with us."

The lemma is that Neoliberalism will always be with us.

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Seem to me that the piece deserves more of a "Yes, but .." instead of "OMG" :) Or maybe just not the worst "Bad Take" to use as a hook. Yes, pace Hayek, there are many important relative prices for which the most perfect market process will not discover. But not everyone who cries "Eternality, externality" shall enter the Kingdom of Optimality.

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