The New Yorker’s Closet Libertarian | Hoover Institution

At a more general level, his key conceptual confusion is to assume that all corporations are in cahoots, with each supporting the efforts of the other to be welfare queens. In truth, that position is not in any individual corporation’s own interest. The essence of corporate greed is to be protectionist with respect to your own interest, but to support free trade and open borders for everyone else who supplies you with needed goods and services. That position makes perfectly good sense because none of the programs that Surowiecki denounces works for the benefit of corporations as a class.

For example, the peculiar allocation of broadcast frequencies imposes heavy costs on telecommunication companies and others that need to transport huge volumes of data over the airways. They, of course, oppose the continued retention of these privileged broadcast licenses. The processors of candy have nothing but contempt for the powerful sugar lobby that manages to impose sharp limitations on the quantities of sugar that can be imported into the United States. Virtually all firms that manufacture agriculture and meat products are hurt by the long-term successes of the ethanol lobby.

The difficulty here is the standard public choice problem. Even wealthy but disorganized corporate groups find it difficult to oppose concentrated industry interests on matters closest to their economic core. Thus, those groups that hurt businesses and consumers alike all too often retain their protectionist stranglehold over the economy.

via The New Yorker’s Closet Libertarian | Hoover Institution.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.