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Some random notes, links, etc. on Public Choice Theory - Elf M. Sternberg
Some random notes, links, etc. on Public Choice Theory
Amartya Sen once summed up Public Choice Theory thusly:
"Can you direct me to the railway station?” asks the stranger. "Certainly," says the local, pointing in the opposite direction, towards the post office, "and would you post this letter for me on your way?" "Certainly," says the stranger, resolving to open it to see if it contains anything worth stealing.
John Quiggan notes the following: The central points of the Marxist-Leninist theory are
  • Politics is about struggle between economic classes. The state acts in the interest of the capitalist class as a whole, and arbitrates differences among "fractions" of capital;
  • Political ideas (except Marxism-Leninism) are "ideologies" designed to rationalise class rule;
  • The masses acquiesce because of ‘false consciousness’ associated with submission to a dominant or ‘hegemonic’ ideology.
... and then notes that Public Choice Theory says:
  • Politics is about the struggle between interest groups. The state responds to the pressure of organised interest groups, typically tight coalitions of producer groups. Logrolling between these groups produces an outcome which benefits them collectively at the expense of taxpayers and consumers;
  • Political ideas (except free-market ideas) are ideologies designed to rationalise policies serving various interest groups;
  • Voters acquiesce because of ‘rational ignorance’ which leads them to take little interest in politics and makes them easily subject to manipulation by political interests.
Brad Delong went on a tear about Public Choice Theory and its popularity among the ruling class, despite the fact that it has fewer actual working economists taking it seriously (a fate it shares with both Hayek and Rand) than does Marxism.

I mean, any system says "Democracy is a failure" and that proposes an alternative to "one man, one vote," and involves basically buying representation, is one that is itself popular not because it's less corrupting, but because it calls corruption a virtue.

The best part for me is always the "I'm an exception" exception. Marxism and PTC both claim to be the One Pure Organizing Principle that, unlike any other, is immaculate and separate from ideology. If that doesn't make your BS detector go off, have it looked at.

I mean, look what happened to Rapture.

I've often thought someone should write fanfic about how the poor and disabled get along on Manticore. I suspect the answer is "not for very long."

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4 comments or Leave a comment
resonant From: resonant Date: January 24th, 2013 04:35 am (UTC) (Link)
Hey, the flat tax structure on Manticore is fair! Some yeoman not earning enough to eat pays the same percentage as one of the First Landing gentry! Except for the tax-free estate revenues that the gentry reap, of course. And we won't mention those whose ancestors were indentured servants.
resonant From: resonant Date: January 24th, 2013 04:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Just as a point of reference, Jamaica has a flat tax structure similar to that of Manticore.
dr_memory From: dr_memory Date: January 24th, 2013 06:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Are you sure you linked to the Delong article you were intending to?
elfs From: elfs Date: January 24th, 2013 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, yes I am.
4 comments or Leave a comment