Mamet on government and markets

by Russ Roberts on March 12, 2008

in Complexity & Emergence, Politics

David Mamet has written an extraordinary confessional for the Village Voice (I’ve edited this link, ht: Drudge) where he describes his philosophical change of heart from being an anti-American, anti-market believer in man’s perfectibility to something different. An excerpt:

What about the role of government? Well, in the abstract, coming from my time and background, I thought it
was a rather good thing, but tallying up the ledger in those things
which affect me and in those things I observe, I am hard-pressed to see
an instance where the intervention of the government led to much beyond
sorrow.

But if the government is not to intervene, how will we, mere human beings, work it all out?

I wondered and read, and it occurred to me that I knew the answer,
and here it is: We just seem to. How do I know? From experience. I
referred to my own—take away the director from the staged play and what
do you get? Usually a diminution of strife, a shorter rehearsal period,
and a better production.

And then Mamet shows an understanding of public choice theory applied to theater:

The director, generally, does not cause strife, but his or her
presence impels the actors to direct (and manufacture) claims designed
to appeal to Authority—that is, to set aside the original goal (staging
a play for the audience) and indulge in politics, the purpose of which
may be to gain status and influence outside the ostensible goal of the
endeavor.

He goes on to say he’s been reading Sowell and Friedman (and Paul Johnson and Shelby Steele). Sounds like he would like some Hayek if he hasn’t tried him already.

Read the whole thing, although the site is slow right now from the raft of comments (190 and rising rapidly) and Drudge’s link.

And if anyone out there knows Mr. Mamet or someone who knows him, I sure would like to invite him to be a guest on EconTalk.

Comments

34 comments    Share Share    Print    Email

Previous post:

Next post: