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Old 08-30-2004, 10:32 AM
Dominion Dominion is offline
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Default Where is the Magic in the "Magic of the Marketplace"

Lately I have been trying to get an answer to this question and so far, no luck.

In fact, most proponents of the "magic of the marketplace" theory of economic expansion can't even give me a decent description. Not even a good definition. As far as I can tell it consist of allowing corporations to do what ever they want without any type of corporate oversight. I have been told that if the marketplace is allowed the freedom to grow uncontrolled that all sorts of wonders will be mine...cleaner teeth, fresher breath, and more money than I know what to do with.

Now personally I think this is crazy talk from crazy people. We have a history in this country of allowing corporations an inordinate amount of freedom in this country as it is and what is the thanks we get? Love Canal? Lead Poisoning? Silicosis? Industrial disaster after disaster? And that is with oversight! Hell here in Houston one of our largest bayous has just been listed a Superfund cleanup site!

So can someone, anyone, explain to me how the "magic of the marketplace" is supposed to fix such problems?

Just curious...
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Old 08-30-2004, 02:12 PM
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livius drusus livius drusus is offline
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Default Re: Where is the Magic in the "Magic of the Marketplace"

Good question. I've always wondered how corporate entities' drive for profits transubstantiates into quality of life for actual people. It seems like an incantantion to me; no different from how a priest chanting "take this all of you and drink from it" turns wine into blood.
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Old 08-30-2004, 05:52 PM
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Clutch Munny Clutch Munny is offline
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Default Re: Where is the Magic in the "Magic of the Marketplace"

Well, I think the answer is supposed to be the classical Smithian one: The purchasers will punish you by not buying your product, if you do nasty things like pollute or use child slaves or corrupt the political process.

This answer, I'm told, works wonderfully in Libertarian Heaven. Here on Earth, of course, it is transparently false, indeed, hilariously idealized market-fundamentalism.
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Old 08-30-2004, 09:59 PM
Dominion Dominion is offline
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Default Re: Where is the Magic in the "Magic of the Marketplace"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clutch Munny
Well, I think the answer is supposed to be the classical Smithian one: The purchasers will punish you by not buying your product, if you do nasty things like pollute or use child slaves or corrupt the political process.
This is the answer I get most frequently. Yet in actual practice this fails for a number of reasons. A good example is the "science" that tobacco companies paid for, then hid when it turned out bad, or spun depending on their mood. When I first started smoking I had all the "smoker" spin points memorized. "There has never been a link between smoking and cancer proven", "The science is soft...or wrong...or stupid"...well you get the idea. I was misled by the company that was selling the product that was poisoning me. Nor is this the first time, for a really sad record check out the story behind Lead. We were mislead about the dangers of lead for years, and not by the government either.

Another consideration is that in this magical marketplace, where no rules reign was is to stop companies from forming monopolies, or under the table agreements to keep cost steady and danger hidden? The only way the magic works is if companies suddenly stopped doing what they have been doing for years, misleading the public. I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Quote:
This answer, I'm told, works wonderfully in Libertarian Heaven. Here on Earth, of course, it is transparently false, indeed, hilariously idealized market-fundamentalism.
Now that is the best line I have heard all week.
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