Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Don't Throw Out the Baby along with the Dirty Diaper!

Yeah, I know, the actual expression is "Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater!" It means don't jettison the good stuff (the baby) when you get rid of the bad stuff (bathwater). I changed it because bathwater is pretty homogenous and I want to differentiate between two different bad things when I chastise certain critics of "capitalism." To be clear, I think "capitalism" is not a particularly helpful term for a number of reasons but it is au courant with the history crowd at present, as in the growing "History of Capitalism" subfield. Most of its practitioners are critics of "capitalism" (which is good) but critics who go to far and throw out the baby along with the dirty diaper. The good part of capitalism (the baby) is of course competition (price competition holding quality constant). The bad parts are asymmetric information (the pooh pooh, the natural product of the baby/markets) and rent seeking (the diaper, which like political favors is unnatural and will burden future generations).

For more on concepts like price competition, asymmetric information, and rent seeking, feel free to peruse my oeuvre.

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