Monday, August 11, 2014

Krugman Still Doesn't Get It

Paul Krugman has done a follow up to his absurd piece on what he thinks is libertarianism. SEE: Krugman: "When it comes to substance, libertarians are living in a fantasy world."

Now, he writes:
OK, not exactly. But I see that some of the commenters on my libertarian piece invoke the old “horrors of the DMV” line to claim that government never works.
What’s remarkable about this line is that it reflects a fantasy — in this case, a negative fantasy — more than the reality. I’m sure that there are terrible DMV offices where people have miserable.
Although government does tend to be inefficient. The primary problem with government is that it is about coercion. There is no way we will ever know what driving would look like if left to the private sector because government has a police-protected, that is, armed, monopoly on issuing driving permits.

Government is always about coercion. It doesn't mean that it is always inefficient in its coercive ways. Krugman may not be aware of this but the Nazis were very efficient at killing Jews. Does he champion government for its efficiency in this endeavor?

The fundamental evil of government is that it forces people to do things against their will. Krugman may think he is a good decider as to when the government should be coercing people and when not. I'd rather see the elimination of all opportunities for government to exercise power and that would mean a world of freedom and a private property society. That's what libertarianism is about. It is not a debate as to whether the government monopoly over driver permits results in fast lines or slow lines. It is the fact that we are forced to get into line for the government in the first place. It is about the evil that can come from government power centers. And there is no bettercurrent day  example of this than Krugman's DMV. As Tyler Cowen notes:
To use Krugman’s own pick of the cherry, he wrote another post defending the DMV for its on-line service and reasonable wait times.  It was not always so, but on top of that let’s not forget the Virginia DMV just tried to put Uber and other ride-sharing services out of business (Krugman himself wrote rapturously about Uber a few weeks ago and how it held out the promise of a society with diminished car ownership in some locales.  I say bring it on.)  

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