Sunday, November 13, 2011

Tyler Cowen on agriculture policy and corporate bailouts

Here is the latest NYT column from Tyler Cowen, who I generally think of as a market-oriented libertarian economist.  Cowen generally prefers to let the deserving rich be rich, and yet he can see why the demonstrators at Zuccotti Park have "so much resonance."
The first problem is that higher status for the wealthy can easily lead to crony capitalism. In public discourse social status judgments are often crude. Critical differences are lost, like the distinction between earning money through production for consumers, as Apple has done, and earning money through the manipulation of government, which heavily subsidized agribusinesses have done. The relevant question, in my view, is not about how much you have earned but about how you have earned it. To further confuse matters, many right-wing Republican politicians supported corporate bailouts and corporate welfare far beyond what was necessary to stabilize the economy, in doing so further muddying the difference between productive and predatory capitalism. 

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