Sunday, January 2, 2011

An awkward question about economists

Here's economist Walter E. Williams on "Fair" trade, with some editing by The International Liberty Blog

The primary issue is whether or not a politician should have power and control over what you can purchase, or at what price:

At first blush, the mercantilists’ call for “free trade but fair trade” sounds reasonable. After all, who can be against fairness? Giving the idea just a bit of thought suggests that fairness as a guide for public policy lays the groundwork for tyranny. …Last summer, I purchased a 2010 LS 460 Lexus, through a U.S. intermediary, from a Japanese producer for $70,000. Here’s my question to you: Was that a fair or unfair trade? I was free to keep my $70,000 or purchase the car. The Japanese producer was free to keep his Lexus or sell me the car. …The exchange occurred because I saw myself as being better off and so did the Japanese producer. I think it was both free and fair trade, and I’d like an American mercantilist to explain to me how it wasn’t. Mercantilists have absolutely no argument when we recognize that trade is mostly between individuals. Mercantilists pretend that trade occurs between nations such as U.S. trading with England or Japan to appeal to our jingoism. …That’s nonsense. Trade occurs between individuals in one country, through intermediaries, with individuals in another country. Who might protest that my trade with the Lexus manufacturer was unfair? If you said an American car manufacturer and their union workers, go to the head of the class. …it’s never American consumers who complain about cheaper prices. It’s always American producers and their unions who do the complaining. That ought to tell us something.

I think Williams once said that he goes to his mailbox every morning to see if he's gotten a government check for not raising pigs.  He never has gotten one.  But lots of millionaire farmers get them every year, millionaire farmers who are no better at not raising pigs than Williams is. 
Even if you're a vehement supporter of corporate welfare, you've got to admit that is funny. 

On a (slightly) related note, "Basic Economics" by Dr. Thomas Sowell has now gone into a 4th edition. 

I have quoted, mis-quoted, mangled, highlighted, posted, and fallen asleep with this book so many times that I'm not going to burden this post with an excerpt.  Just hit the Thomas Sowell label down below. 
The man is brilliant AND readable.  My new copy of the 4th edition (on my truck seat at all times) is already starting to look like it's been owned by 3 different students with too many highlighters. 

This gets me to Glenn Loury, now comfortably situated in Brown University's economics department. 
Loury started his career as a conservative but now calls himself a progressive.  
Loury once had a domestic violence problem, and a Bolivian Marching Powder problem.   (I think he's a libertarian, but hey, Brown U. doesn't hire many of those.  There are some things that an academic just can't admit.) 

Go here to read what Loury had to say about Obama's race speech, the one Obama had to compose after the Revered Wright incident.  Like most of my blog topics, I came across this one while looking online for something else.   
I don't agree with a lot of it, but it is readable.  There is a structure to the sentences.  It flows.  You can see a pattern from paragraph to paragraph. 

So here's my point.  Or my question....
Why are the most readable (and therefore best) living economists all black?  


TarrantLibertyGuy said...

It's because Milton Friedman is dead.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

I think Milton must have had some Brothers in his bloodline someplace. There is no other explanation.