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Posted By Don Boudreaux On September 25, 2013 @ 8:50 am In Complexity & Emergence,Education,Innovation,Other People's Money,Property Rights,Seen and Unseen | Comments Disabled

More wisdom from my GMU Econ colleague – and EconLog blogger – Bryan Caplan [1].  Here’s a slice:

Governments rely on indirect coercion because direct coercion seems brutal, unfair, and wrong.  If the typical American saw the police bust down a stranger [2]‘s door to arrest an undocumented nanny and the parents who hired her, the typical American would morally side with the strangers.  If the typical American saw regulators confiscate a stranger’s expired milk, he’d side with the strangers.  If the typical American found out his neighbor narced on a stranger for failing to pay use tax on an out-of-state Internet purchase, he’d damn his neighbor, not the stranger.  Why?  Because each of these cases activates the common-sense moral intuition [3] that people have a duty to leave nonviolent people alone.

Switching to indirect coercion is a shrewd way for government to sedate our moral intuition.

Here’s Arnold Kling on a paper on poverty by Bruce D. Meyer and James X. Sullivan [4].

My GMU Econ and Mercatus Center colleague Pete Boettke points us to a fascinating paper by Samuel DeCanio [5].  And here’s a reaction by Richard Ebeling to Pete’s post [6].

John Stossel explains that [7]

In a free market, a symphony of desires comes together, and they’re met by people who constantly rack their brains to provide better services and invent solutions to our desires.

In my latest Pittsburgh Tribune-Review column I continue my discussion of the work of the late Ronald Coase [8].

Shikha Dalmia explains the core problem with Pres. Obama’s “University scorecard” proposal [9].

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URLs in this post:

[1] More wisdom from my GMU Econ colleague – and EconLog blogger – Bryan Caplan: http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2013/09/the_homage_stat.html

[2] stranger: http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2011/01/the_stranger.html

[3] common-sense moral intuition: http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2013/01/huemers_common-.html

[4] Here’s Arnold Kling on a paper on poverty by Bruce D. Meyer and James X. Sullivan: http://www.arnoldkling.com/blog/better-measures-of-poverty/

[5] My GMU Econ and Mercatus Center colleague Pete Boettke points us to a fascinating paper by Samuel DeCanio: http://www.coordinationproblem.org/2013/09/samuel-decanio-and-the-future-of-public-choice.html

[6] here’s a reaction by Richard Ebeling to Pete’s post: http://www.coordinationproblem.org/2013/09/richard-ebeling-on-the-future-of-the-free-society.html

[7] John Stossel explains that: http://townhall.com/columnists/johnstossel/2013/09/25/innovation-or-stagnation-n1708480

[8] In my latest Pittsburgh Tribune-Review column I continue my discussion of the work of the late Ronald Coase: http://triblive.com/opinion/donaldboudreaux/4726576-74/spectrum-property-rights#ax

[9] Shikha Dalmia explains the core problem with Pres. Obama’s “University scorecard” proposal: http://reason.com/archives/2013/09/22/obamas-university-scorecard-plan-deserve?fb_action_ids=10151696598807918&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=aggregation&fb_aggregation_id=288381481237582

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