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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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