Don Boudreaux asks some good questions

Don Boudreaux, of Cafe Hayek and George Mason University, asks some great questions in his column, And the answer is?, in today’s Pittsburgh Tribune.

Here are a few:

Why do so many conservatives distrust Uncle Sam when it meddles at home, but trust it when it meddles abroad?

Why do so many “progressives” who preen publicly about their magnanimity toward the poor want to prevent foreign workers — most of whom are farpoorer than is any American — from bettering their lots by competing freely against relatively rich American workers?

Why are “progressives” madly obsessed with inequality of incomes but not with inequality of work effort, risk taking, prudence, courage, honesty, integrity, ambition and dedication? Monetary incomes, after all, are largely a result of the application of these qualities: Those who apply more of these qualities to their lives and careers generally earn higher incomes than are earned by those who apply fewer of these qualities to their lives and careers.

Why is it considered bad form today to point out that personal character plays a large role in determining one’s fate in life — including one’s income?

If the current American model for supplying K-12 education is desirable, why do we not also supply college and post-graduate education in the same way? That is, why not fund state colleges with tax dollars, charge zero tuition and assign each post-secondary student to that college in his or her geographic district? Going to a public college outside of the district would be prohibited. Does anyone believe that implementing this model of supplying college education would improve post-secondary education?
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4 thoughts on “Don Boudreaux asks some good questions

  1. “Why do so many “progressives” who preen publicly about their magnanimity toward the poor want to prevent foreign workers — most of whom are farpoorer than is any American — from bettering their lots by competing freely against relatively rich American workers?”

    I’ll take that deal. That of course means the USA will no longer subsidize the Chinese, or protect the multinationals in other brutal dictatorships. Let’s see how attractive that business climate is once they are left to the tender mercies of the local mafia and local bureaucrats.

    Meanwhile, we can’t endorse the products of slave labor, can we? A lot of it is. Oh, it’s too difficult to sort out? Let it all in.

    Also, we’ll have to get rid of a lot of our infrastructure too–paved roads take maintenance so we better go back to dirt roads. Ditto the clean water and safe food too. We’re going back to fish heads and rice anyways, and we couldn’t do anything about the lead and strontium in it anyways.

    Let’s give up on national security too, since we are hollowing out the manufacturing base. If we get attacked I’m sure we’ll be able to buy weapons from somewhere on credit.

    Unless of course Don Boudreaux was being rhetorical to show how stupid that question is.

    • “That of course means the USA will no longer subsidize…”
      What do you mean by ‘USA’? Are you referring to the free individuals that reside in the USA?

      Can you describe how that subsidy works? Who provides the subsidy, who is the beneficiary and by what mechanism does the money change hands?

      “…we can’t endorse the products of slave labor, can we?”
      Have you asked those you call slaves what they prefer? Would they prefer free individuals to not buy their products? Where does that leave them?

      “Also, we’ll have to get rid of a lot of our infrastructure too…” “…since we are hollowing out the manufacturing base…”
      As our manufacturing has been “hollowed out,” as you say, the value of manufacturing output in the US has nearly doubled in the U.S. since 1980 (http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2011/02/us-manufacturing-more-output-fewer.html).

  2. my issue is with ‘Why is it considered bad form today to point out that personal character plays a large role in determining one’s fate in life — including one’s income?’

    bad form or not..im pretty sure that pure blind luck plays the largest role in determining one’s fate in life. its not really luck..its pre-determinism..but luck is the best way to imagine it because there are too many variables.

    the bad form must be in the implication that someones dire straights are due to an imperfection in personal character. who wants to trade places with stephen hawking?

    • I agree luck is a bigger factor than a lot folks care to admit. But, personal character can make a difference.

      It shouldn’t be bad form to point out to someone that if they showed up for on time, they might be able to keep a job. But, it does seem like those types of observations get more sneers than they should.

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