The Future of Democracy, Freedom, and Prosperity

A simple topic for four of us to spend an hour discussing. The conclusion of my opening remarks:


one sort of maybe fictional type scenario would be that you would get a sudden sovereign debt crisis in the United States that would take place in an environment where the political feelings are frayed–there’s a lot of controversy; people no longer see the legislators and the executive as having legitimacy for solving their problems.They take to the streets. There’s fighting; there’s violence.


And at that point the people are ready to turn to some kind of dictator to resolve the violence. So that’s kind of a fictional scenario. There’s certainly you can see either economic or political ways to avoid it. But that would be sort of my one pessimistic scenario relative to maintaining our open access order. Which, if we do maintain our open access order, I think eventually we do recover prosperity and we sort of maintain freedom.


John Cochrane worries about

John Cochrane则担心:

the vast attempt of our government to control economics from the big Dodd-Frank and Obamacare down to the small regulations against Uber and occupational licensing for hairdressers, and so forth.

政府对经济的管控已无所不用其极,大至多德-弗兰克法案(Dodd-Frank Act)【译注:全称《多德—弗兰克华尔街改革和消费者保护法》,2010年制订,旨在加强金融市场监管,有关其实施效果,海德沙龙将在今后译介更多文章】、奥巴马医改,小至对Uber的管制,甚至理发师都需要职业许可证。

This enterprise has vast power. It’s increasingly politicized. And right now it’s used already to silence opposition to the regulatory fiefdoms. What bank dares to speak out against the Dodd-Frank Act? What health insurer dares to speak out against Obamacare?


It seems to me that strong regulation often has the support, or at least the acquiescence, of incumbent business interests. The question is whether potential new competition is thwarted. Lee Ohanian, another speaker in this session, is pessimistic on that score.

在我看来,强监管政策常常能在市场现有的利益相关企业中找到支持者,或者至少是默许。问题是,这是否阻碍了潜在的新竞争者进入。这次会议的另一位发言者Lee Ohanian在这点上是悲观的:

Another recent study found that the decline in community banking accelerated considerably in the last few years, reflecting economies of scale in managing new regulation associated with Dodd-Frank. Small Business Administration says that lending to small businesses has declined by about 20% since 2008, which was of course the year of the Great Recession. And in 2013 only 1 new bank entered the banking industry.


So you look at the outcome of Dodd-Frank–declining competition, fewer banks, lack of entry, higher costs, regulators with broad mandates who make vague and far-reaching rules–this represents a sharp departure from the clear and specific limits on government.





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