MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Rent seeking’

How Historians Changed the Meaning of “Liberalism” | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on July 4, 2020

https://mises.org/wire/how-historians-changed-meaning-liberalism?utm_source=Mises+Institute+Subscriptions&utm_campaign=d1adf222d9-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_07_03_04_46&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_8b52b2e1c0-d1adf222d9-228343965

Understandably enough, the current disfavor into which socialism has fallen has spurred what Raimondo Cubeddu (1997: 138) refers to as “the frenzy to proclaim oneself a liberal.” Many writers today have recourse to the stratagem of “inventing for oneself a ‘liberalism’ according to one’s own tastes” and passing it off as an “evolution” from past ideas. “The superabundance of liberalisms,” Cubeddu warns, “like that of money, ends up by debasing everything and emptying everything of meaning.”1

In truth, a survey of the literature on liberalism reveals a condition of conceptual mayhem. One root cause of this is the frequent attempt to accommodate all important political groupings that have called themselves “liberal.” This is an approach favored by some British scholars in particular, in whose conception of liberalism the doings and sayings of the British Liberal Party of the twentieth century weigh mightily (e.g., Eccleshall 1986; Vincent 1988).

There is no doubt that after around 1900 the Liberal Party in Britain veered increasingly in a statist direction. In the United States a similar transformation took place within the Democratic Party—once “the party of Jefferson and Jackson”—at a somewhat later date. But such shifts, evident also in Continental parties that kept the liberal name, are easily explained by the dynamics of democratic electoral politics.

Faced with the competition of collectivist ideas, liberal parties produced a new breed of “political entrepreneurs,” men skilled at mobilizing “rent-seeking” constituencies, i.e., those who use the state to enhance their economic position. In order to gain power, these leaders revised the liberal program to the point where it was “practically indistinguishable from democratic and social-reformist ideas, ending up by accepting the notion of the state as an instrument for redesigning society to produce particular ends” (Cubeddu 1997: 26).2

If one holds that the meaning of liberal must be modified because of ideological shifts within the British Liberal Party (or the Democratic Party in the United States), then due consideration must also be given to the National Liberals of Imperial Germany. They—as well as David Lloyd George and John Maynard Keynes—would have a claim to be situated in the same ideological category as, say, Richard Cobden, John Bright, and Herbert Spencer. Yet the National Liberals supported, among other measures: the Kulturkampf against the Catholic Church and the anti-socialist laws; Bismarck’s abandonment of free trade and his introduction of the welfare state; the forcible Germanization of the Poles; colonial expansion and Weltpolitik; and the military and especially naval buildup under Wilhelm II (Klein-Hattingen 1912; Raico 1999: 86–151, and passim). Actually, if one simply went by party labels, the National Liberals would have more of a right to the title liberal than the authentically liberal German Progressives and Freisinn, whom they opposed, and the question of whether the National Liberals betrayed genuine liberalism in Germany could not even be raised.

A similar difficulty is presented by the case of Friedrich Naumann, regarded by many nowadays as the exemplary German liberal leader of the early twentieth century.

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This is How You Nudge The President Toward Crony Deals

Posted by M. C. on February 8, 2020

In the “you can’t make this stuff up” department. It is called rent seeking.

Hamilton was the original Big Government guy.

https://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2020/02/this-is-how-you-nudge-president-toward.html

The National Association of Manufacturers has announced that Ivanka Trump will be the inaugural recipient of the association’s Alexander Hamilton Award.

“Ivanka Trump embodies the collaborative spirit and relentless drive needed to solve manufacturers’ most pressing challenge—the workforce crisis. Like no one in government has ever done, she has provided singular leadership and shown an unwavering commitment to modern manufacturing in America. The Alexander Hamilton Award honors leaders who have made exceptional contributions to growing manufacturing in the United States and to empowering more Americans with high-tech, high-paying modern manufacturing jobs,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “For her work bringing together leaders of industry, government and academia to put in-demand careers within reach for all Americans, Ivanka stands out as the perfect choice for this award.”

From the NAM press release:

“As advances in technology and automation change the national economy, so too must the country’s education and job training systems change to prepare Americans for the emerging industries of the future, including advanced manufacturing,” said Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump. “America is home to the best workforce in the world, but the skills of today do not mirror those of tomorrow. I am committed to ensuring our workforce is equipped with the skills they need to seize the vast opportunities that lie ahead.”

In other words, she has no understanding with regard to how the economics of the labor market work. No Ivanka guidance is needed, the free markets can handle it. She is a playing technocratic role, to interfere with free markets, and the crony elite is happy to use her and abuse her, and “help” her with her shallow interventions.

And then we jump to this from Bloomberg:

Ivanka Trump, will deliver the keynote address at a Dubai summit next week and will meet with Mideast leaders, White House officials said.

Ivanka Trump will speak about opportunities for women in business at the Global Women’s Forum and a regional summit for the World Bank’s Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative in Dubai Feb. 14 to 17, the officials said. They said the leaders she’ll meet haven’t been finalized.

RW

Be seeing you

Rent-Seeking, The Progressive Agenda and Cash Transfers at ...

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Ten Reasons Why Governments Fail | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on November 25, 2018

https://mises.org/wire/ten-reasons-why-governments-fail

Here are ten reasons why:

I. Knowledge

Government policies suffer from the pretense of knowledge . In order to perform a successful market intervention, politicians need to know more than they can. Market knowledge is not centralized, systematic, organized and general, but dispersed, heterogeneous, specific, and individual. Different from a market economy where there are many operators and a constant process of trial and error, the correction of government errors is limited because the government is a monopoly. For the politician, to admit an error is often worse than sticking with a wrong decision – even against own insight.

II. Information Asymmetries

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