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Call Me A Pro-Market Populist, Too

Call Me A Pro-Market Populist, Too

James Pethokoukis wrote an interesting article the other day, Why Wall Street Should Fear Sarah Palin.

Palinomics, embryonic as it is, seems to be rooted in “free-market populism,” a version of conservative thinking that is pro-market rather than pro-business. It says the role of government is to help markets function more fairly and efficiently for everyone, encouraging competition and “creative destruction” (which Palin specifically mentioned in her book). Pro-business policies, by contrast, can end up subsidizing favored companies, raising barriers to entry and otherwise entrenching the status quo.

This distinction between markets and businesses nicely sums up my own views on regulation, and I believe, reflects the main thrust of those who participate in the Tea Party movement. 

Having spend most of my career representing the interests of small investors, I am most interested in protecting the integrity and fairness of the securities markets.  But I have little tolerance for Wall Street mischief or market manipulation, so I am pro-securities regulation provided that regulation does not entrench and protect bad behaviors even further. 

A level playing field for the public is the goal, as elusive as it may be.

By contrast, neither Democrats nor establishment Republicans really are pro-market.  Democrats want to protect people from fair markets by gaming the economic system in favor of politically connected groups, most notably unions.  Establishment Republicans are concerned with structuring the tax code and regulatory environment to benefit established businesses. 

While my interests and those of the anti- or pro-business regulatory state may intersect on occasion, philosophically we have little in common.

Count me in as one of those simplistic people who believes in markets.

Update:  Being a free-market populist also probably reflects my lack of intellectual curiosity.

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Comments

Exactly. Which is why one of the best economics books of recent years is Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists: Unleashing the Power of Financial Markets to Create Wealth and Spread Opportunity, by Raghuram Rajan and Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago's business school. Wall St. loved it when Rudy Giuliani went after Mike Milken; he was taking out their competition.

Jimmy P is an extremely smart guy, I've been a fan of his for a while now.

Why were Palin's comments about the FED the other day the same as the Red Chinese government's? Is it because she doesn't know what she's talking about or does she really believe the Chinese mercantilists ought to be free to keep stealing US jobs and destroying the US manufacturing base by keeping the renimbi's value artificially low against the dollar.

QE2, liquidity, commodities, food – an unhealthy mix

Chinese Prime Minister visits a supermarket:
"the evening of November 11, Wen Jiabao arrived at the bustling downtown area of Guangzhou city PARKnSHOP supermarket, to understand the market supply. In vegetables, fruits, and other counter, Wen Jiabao, the sales staff to understand the price and supply situation. A salesman told the Prime Minister: “Since September this year, prices rose. But we control costs by purchasing long-term guarantee of supply.” Wen said relations between market supply and demand and prices, the immediate interests of the masses, we must attach great importance. The State Council is preparing measures to curb excessive price rises. He urged local people to do everything possible to remain in charge of supply channels, to ensure market supply, strengthening supervision, maintaining market order."

http://www.70794.com/?p=10322

"Capital flowing into China betting on the nation’s growth and gains by the yuan is adding to money already in the financial system from record domestic lending.

“Inflation is a huge problem,” said Andy Xie, an independent economist, in a Bloomberg Television interview in Hong Kong today, before Wen’s comments were broadcast. “The bottom line is that money supply has increased too much.”

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-16/china-s-cabinet-is-drafting-anti-inflation-measures-wen-says-on-state-tv.html

The Food Inflation Nightmare Is About To Hit 40% Of The World's Population

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-food-inflation-nightmare-is-about-to-hit-40-of-the-worlds-people-2010-11#ixzz15SSkwpTN

You just made a point that I always get hammered for when I make it. Those who always argue that less regulation is always better ignore that regulations are what defines not only how markets work but how EVERYTHING works. The level of regulation required is determined by that level which produces the most efficient and innovative economy.

For instance, Glass-Steagall was very efficient. The less regulated "too big to fail" regime that replaced it is horribly inefficient and corrupt. The former requires less bureaucracy to police and produces a much more honest and transparent banking system. The latter has created a massive inept bureaucracy trying to police what can be described as a massive fog bank populated by crooks.

Natural Elites, Intellectuals, and the State

"two requirements…in the necessary radical and fundamental change in public opinion…intellectual competency and character–the second is the more important,"

“Intellectuals are now typically public employees, even if they work for nominally private institutions or foundations. Almost completely protected from the vagaries of consumer demand ("tenured"), their number has dramatically increased and their compensation is on average far above their genuine market value. At the same time the quality of their intellectual output has constantly fallen.

What you will discover is mostly irrelevance and incomprehensibility. Worse, insofar as today's intellectual output is at all relevant and comprehensible, it is viciously statist. There are exceptions, but if practically all intellectuals are employed in the multiple branches of the state, then it should hardly come as a surprise that most of their ever-more voluminous output will, either by commission or omission, be statist propaganda.”

Even if most intellectuals have been corrupted and are largely responsible for the present
perversities, it is impossible to achieve an ideological revolution without their help. The rule
of the public intellectuals can only be broken by anti-intellectual intellectuals. Fortunately,
the ideas of individual liberty, private property, freedom of contract and association,
personal responsibility and liability, and government power as the primary enemy of liberty
and property, will not die out as long as there is a human race, simply because they are
true and the truth supports itself. Moreover, the books of past thinkers who expressed these
ideas will not disappear. However, it is also necessary that there be living thinkers who read
such books and who can remember, restate, reapply, sharpen, and advance these ideas,
and who are capable and willing to give them personal expression and openly oppose,
attack, and refute their fellow intellectuals.
Of these two requirements–intellectual competency and character–the second is the more
important, especially in these times. From a purely intellectual point of view, matters are
comparatively easy. Most of the statist arguments that we hear day in and out are easily
refuted as moral or economic nonsense. It is also not rare to encounter intellectuals who in
private do not believe what they proclaim with great fanfare in public. They do not simply
err. They deliberately say and write things they know to be untrue. They do not lack
intellect; they lack morals. This in turn implies that one must be prepared not only to fight
falsehood but also evil–and this is a much more difficult and daring task. In addition to
better knowledge, it requires courage.
As an anti-intellectual intellectual, one can expect bribes to be offered–and it is amazing
how easily some people can be corrupted: a few hundred dollars, a nice trip, a photo-op
with the mighty and powerful are all too often sufficient to make people sell out. Such
temptations must be rejected as contemptible. Moreover, in fighting evil, one must be
willing to accept that one will probably never be "successful." There are no riches in store,
no magnificent promotions, no professional prestige. In fact, intellectual "fame" should be
regarded with utmost suspicion."

http://mises.org/etexts/intellectuals.pdf

Hans-Hermann Hoppe, professor of economics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, is a
senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and co-editor of its Review of Austrian
Economics. He received his PhD and post-doctoral degree from the Goethe University inFrankfurt, Germany, and is the author, among other works, of A Theory of Socialism and
Capitalism, The Economics and Ethics of Private Property, and Democracy: The God that
Failed

Paul Ryan has often said the same thing: 'markets' over 'business'.

He, too, sees the danger in crony capitalism.

Milton Friedman made the same distinction and said he favored free markets.

I am of the same persuasion.

Sarah Palin–right again.

No, Palin is right and you are the stupid one. Besides your repeating of the tired lies about China "taking" jobs and the yet unproven yuan manipulation charges, how does trashing and devaluing our own economy help us?

QE2 is idiotic and your argument is weak: so what if Palin agrees with a point made by someone in the Chinese government? Yes, sometimes even bad and evil communists can be right about something! Sheesh, what an absolutist.

"For instance, Glass-Steagall was very efficient. The less regulated "too big to fail" regime that replaced it is horribly inefficient and corrupt. The former requires less bureaucracy to police and produces a much more honest and transparent banking system. The latter has created a massive inept bureaucracy trying to police what can be described as a massive fog bank populated by crooks. "

Wrong. Glass-Steagall crippled American competitiveness and encouraged banks to intrude in a market (such as insurance) that they were not naturally meant to engage in. There is no less regulated "too big to fail" system, because "too big to fail" is a regulatory scheme in of itself. What caused our current problems was a system of government regulation that made subprime lending unavoidable and attractive.

You're wrong, less regulation *is* always better. Regulation is an arbitrary device used by control freak central planners to curb freedom and control lives. Regulation punishes everyone for the possible criminality of others. Instead of having the SEC breathing down peoples neck (they did a bang up job with Madoff didn't they?) how about punishing wrongdoers instead of punishing everybody for something they have not done yet. Or do you advocate the monitoring of parents and how they treat their children so you can see and stop potential abuse? Big Brother-esque, yes but it would promote a more transparent and honest child rearing system and we could reduce our police force! Regulation leads to smaller government becomes it regulates everything? What an asinine statement. That's like saying adding more water makes a puddle smaller.

Being pro-business means being against big government, high taxes and central planning and recognizing that companies are not inherently evil but good. How is that actually supporting crony capitalism and being anti-free market?

Why is everybody so obsessed these days with making sure we make a fine point about everything and making sure we have the exact terms?

Damn, this blog is becoming Marxism lite.

"The level of regulation required is determined by that level which produces the most efficient and innovative economy."

Wrong. Regulation inherently is inefficient and curtails innovative. And who gets to decide what lavel is required? What you are advocating is a dictatorship.

"Establishment Republicans are concerned with structuring the tax code and regulatory environment to benefit established businesses."

Vague enough. No, they are concerned with structuring the tax code and regulatory environment that promotes the most freedom which benefits everybody.

Is creating a tax code and regulatory environment that benefits non-established business your idea of fairness and free markets?

Typical "populist." Your all for freedom, as long as it's convenient and does not offend the 'masses.'

"A level playing field for the public is the goal, as elusive as it may be."

That sounds like a socialist platform to me. It can't happen in the free market, because not all the players on the field have the talent to succeed. The only real way you can create "equality" is through force.

Interesting how you equate lowering taxes across the board and removing regulations with favoring "existing" business. (As opposed to favoring non-existent business?) Your idea of a free market seems to be one in which are business are equal expect for successful ones because they apparently are blocking other business just by being successful. Therefore, they must be forcibly removed in the name of 'fairness.' Personally, I find the idea of playing favorites with smaller and less successful businesses just as bad and anti-free market as doing the same with large ones.

Are you sure your love for the SEC (aka The Weasels Guarding the Chicken House Commission) and your time spent trying to destroy Wall Street via lawsuits didn't make you a liberal deep inside?

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