Blame It On Brian Leiter

When playing pin the blame on the deregulators, one should start not with Ayn Rand, but with Brian Leiter, for offering this passionate critique of government regulation:

[T]here is no reason to have confidence that the agents of the state in America will excerise their regulatory powers in the service of human well-being and enlightenment.

Clearly, Brian Leiter has grasped Ronald Coase's central point in "The Economics of the First Amendment: The Market for Goods and the Market for Ideas," American Economic Review, 64 (May, 1974): 384-391. [Link available for JSTOR users]:

In the market for goods, the government is commonly regarded as competent to regulate and properly motivated. Consumers lack the ability to make the appropriate choices. Producers often exercise monopolistic power and, in any case, without some form of government intervention, would not act in a way which promotes the public interest. In the market for ideas, the position is very different. The government, if it attempted to regulate, would be inefficient and its motives would, in general, be bad, so that, even if it were successful in achieving what it wanted to accomplish, the results would be undesirable.

I expect Leiter to abandon his Marxism and embrace market liberalism Real Soon Now.

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