Don’t get caught in the justice trap

I enjoyed this post from David Henderson on EconLog about why businesses hire employees and that it is worthwhile to avoid the justice trap.

Henderson quotes good advice from Jeffrey Tucker:

Sincere apologies and genuine admissions of error and wrongdoing are the rarest things in this world. There is no point at all in demanding apologies or in becoming resentful when they fail to appear. Just move on. Neither should you expect to always be rewarded for being right. On the contrary, people will often resent you and try to take you down.

How do you deal with this problem? Don’t get frustrated. Don’t seek justice. Accept the reality for what it is. If a job isn’t working out, move on. If you get fired, don’t seek vengeance. Anger and resentment accomplish absolutely nothing. Keep your eye on the goal of personal and professional advancement, and think of anything that interrupts your path as a diversion and a distraction.

And perhaps a bit more powerful from Walter Oi regarding Japanese internment camps in World War II:

…the Japanese-Americans were treated unjustly, but that the best thing to do for them was to move on and not create a new government program.

I agree. It is very easy to get caught in the justice trap and dwell on how you have been wronged, but that isn’t the least bit productive. Get over it.

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Entrepreneurship vs. politics

From Arnold Kling’s Fantasy Despot Syndrome*:

Consider the story of Kemmons Wilson, which can be found in David Halberstam’s historical retrospective, The Fifties:

Some motels, Wilson later recalled, were godawful; some were very pleasant. The only way you could tell which was which was to see for yourself … Wilson was enraged to find that every motel charged extra for children. The fee was usually $2 per child, even though his children had brought their own bedrolls … Even worse, there was rarely a place to eat nearby, and so he and his family would have to pile back into the car and hunt for a decent family restaurant.

Day by day on the trip, Wilson became more irritated until he finally turned to his wife, Dorothy, and announced that he was going to go into the motel business … “How many of these motels are you going to build?” she asked nervously. He felt she was laughing at him. “Oh, about four hundred,” he answered. “That ought to cover the country.” “And,” he added, “if I never do anything else worth remembering in my life, children are going to stay free at my motels.”

Wilson did not call for a regulatory agency to ensure that all motels were pleasant for families. He did not seek legislation requiring that children sleep free in motels. Instead, he created Holiday Inn, the first national motel chain.

*Fantasy Despot Syndrome defined (also from Kling’s article):

“Wherever people discover that money is being spent, either privately or by public officials, they commonly develop opinions on how it ought to be spent … each person thus becomes his own fantasy despot, disposing of others and their resources as he or she thinks desirable.”  — Kenneth Minogue, The Servile Mind

Ah, but it’s so much easier to talk about it than to do something.

Why private is better that public

This post by Don Boudreaux on Cafe Hayek reminded me of the insight that made me realize that private markets are more effective than public (government or politically-driven) markets.  It’s a two-parter.

Part I:  You first have to realize that most plans fail.

Part II: Feedbacks in private market clean out the failures, reward successes and encourage learning from failure.  In the public markets, feedbacks are not as strong to clean out failures while other feedbacks reward failure and there is little incentive to learn from failure.

Do you have any compelling arguments against that?  I haven’t heard any.

The arguments I’ve heard are “some government programs succeed” (which does not counter the insight, since it only says that successes are less likely, not impossible) or “the private market won’t invest in some things, that’s why it’s the government needs to do it” (that should be telling) or “voting works better than the private market, that’s why we vote (yet we all pretty much have the shoes we want, but at least half of us generally don’t have the politicians that we want).”

More about Part I:

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