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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 430-431 of my colleague Richard Wagner’s paper “Agency, Economic Calculation, and Constitutional Construction,” which is chapter 29 in the important 1988 collection, edited by Charles K. Rowley, Robert D. Tollison, and Gordon Tullock, The Political Economy of Rent-Seeking; with this quotation Dick addresses the claim that political representatives are agents of citizen-voters in a way quite akin to how corporate executives are agents of shareholders:

[T]he system of alienable ownership that characterizes corporations tends to produce unanimity among owners by restricting the scope for wealth transfers. But with the inalienable ownership that characterizes democratic governments, opportunities for wealth transfers expand. Hence the very question of the degree to which agents advance the interest of principals becomes problematic, because there is no longer commonality in interest among principals in the first place.

DBx: Here exposed is yet another weakness in the arguments of those who assert that intervention by democratically elected governments into markets is acceptable because such intervention merely reflects “the will of the people.”