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Name the State

Name the State

The number one problem of all public debate about politics and economics is the failure to name the state. If this would change, so would public opinion. 

There is no shortage of examples. People talk about health care for all, solving climate change, providing security in old age, universal educational access, boosting wages, ending discrimination, and you can add to the list without end. 

That’s one side. 

The other speaks of national identity, protecting jobs, making us more moral, forming cultural cohesion, providing security against the foreign enemy, and so on. 

Obfuscation

All of this, no matter how fancy the language, is obfuscation. What all of this really means is: put the state in charge. What’s strange is the unwillingness to say it outright. This is for a reason. The plans the politicians have for our lives would come across as far less compelling if they admitted the following brutal truth. 

There really are only two ways to allocate goods and services in society: the markets (which rely on individual choice) and the state (which runs on compulsion). No one has ever found a third way. You can mix the two — some markets and some state-run operations — but there always is and always will be a toggling between the two. If you replace markets, the result will be more force via the state, which means bureaucratic administration and rule by force. If you reduce the role of the state, you rely more on markets. This is the logic of political choice, and there is no escaping it. 

Diversity in Markets 

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