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Kim Du Toit
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Monday, March 06, 2006Libertarian's Lament
There is a well-entrenched way of thinking prevalent in American society, that for lack of a better phrase, I shall dub 'The Religion of Structural Efficacy" - (I know, it's bad, but it's only the first draft!)
Don Boudreaux comments nicely on the phenomenon at Cafe Hayek:
...Things people do individually -- for their own purposes, using their own gumption, own wits, and own resources, neither incited by nor directed by government -- too often are not counted as things that "we" do. The assumption seems to be that unless certain things are done by government, they aren't done -- even if they are done!
Consider this comment appearing originally on Brad DeLong's blog. (It's an outstanding site, by the way.) I first encountered this comment in this Business Week Online article by Michael Mandel:
"I'm not an economist, but it seems to me that one problem with Mandel's argument is that we're not investing in human capital. Government spending on universities has been slashed, leading to huge increases in tuition and much greater burdens on individuals and families." --Rebecca Allen, commenting on delong.typepad.com
"We're not investing in human capital" laments Ms. Allen -- who then immediately says that tuition is rising and that "individuals and families" apparently are paying this higher tuition despite the fact that doing so is a great burden. So, individuals and families are investing in human capital. But in Ms. Allen's view, we're not investing.