A blog by Patrick Crozier

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August 01, 2004

The state almost always fails

The belief that the state is not very good at, well, anything, is pretty implicit in my piece over on Transport Blog on bus deregulation. It is also one of the primary reasons why I am a libertarian, though, there are others.

I believe this mainly because there is no shortage of state failures. Of course, you can debate precisely what it means to fail but I can think of few state services which I would rate as more competent than, say, the average supermarket.

Why is this? I have to say I am very shaky on the theory (cue a rude comment from Andy Wood, to the effect that I really ought to go and read something sometime) but I was very impressed by something that Brian said in a comment to another posting I wrote sometime ago:

Markets enable knowledge to be found. Price signals enable lots of people to discover what punters want…

And so when price signals dry up (as they do when the state gets involved) organisations no longer know what the punters want and so service almost always suffers.

Trackbacks

How hockey sticks explain the relative attractions of statism and of free markets
Catching up with Croziervision, the other day, as you do, I came across this posting, which contained a kind reference to something I had said, which on further investigation proved to be an essay by me, attached as a comment to something Patrick himse...
Samizdata.net on October 1, 2004

Comments

Do I really come across as rude? Not my intention. Honest.

Posted by Andy Wood on August 2, 2004

No, not really. More stroppy.

Posted by Patrick Crozier on August 5, 2004