Market bad, government worse

In lieu of original content, here are a couple of good recent articles by Ilya Somin over at The Volokh Conspiracy.

Political Ignorance and Libertarian Paternalism

If government policy is subject to democratic control, the key question is whether people are more irrational and ill-informed when they act as consumers than when they act as voters. [...] few consumers are likely to be as ignorant of the basic characteristics of the products they buy as the 70 percent of eligible voters unaware of the very existence of President Bush's medicare prescription drug plan, the largest and most expensive new government program voters have "bought" over the last 40 years.

Power to the Experts! - A Solution to the Problem of Political Ignorance?

Voters' choice of experts is just as likely to be compromised by rational ignorance and rational irrationality as any other electoral decision. [...]

Of course the experts could instead be chosen by nondemocratic means and insulated from political pressure. Yet, in the absence of democratic control, it will be difficult to ensure that the experts are actually serving the interests of the people as opposed to their own. [...]

[...] government coercion deprives the consumer of the right to make the final decision. If I hire an expert in the market, I retain the right to reject his advice and pursuing a different course of action. This is a vitally important option.

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