Planning Reforms [curi Video]

This is a really interesting video. I like it quite a bit.

Quick summary/understanding:
Society is really complex. Economics is a limited discipline and does not have answers for all material ails. The free market is not a silver bullet. We have inherited a complicated messy political-economy. The laws and policies in place were added to solve problems in the past. The policies may or may not have accomplished their intended result but they may still be better than the prior situation. Its better to start small and work on problems in your own life before trying to fix big societal issues.

My perceived takeaways, or implications:

  1. Gradualism is important to policy making even when dealing with a partially broken system. People are used to the current system and have organized their lives around it in many ways. Changes may work better when rolled out piecemeal so that people can plan for them. Institutions have to exist as ideas in many peoples minds as well as the in the laws.

  2. There is a general lack of virtue amongst almost all people (some much more than others). Very few people are super honest and productive. Many more improvements would follow if most people were really honest and productive than from simple policy changes. Better policies could be a consequence of a more virtuous society. There would be less dishonesty/crime to police and more creative people to think about solutions.

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B RYTHARIUS comment on YouTube:

Unprincipled crony laws are what got us in what we have in the first place. How is “it’s complicated” a solution? This is what all those same people causing the problem in the first place say.

I replied:

If you want a substantial discussion there’s a thread at Planning Reforms [curi Video] The short answer is that unprincipled laws can’t be fixed by reforms that fail at the principle of understanding and addressing the complexity of the situation. We got into this mess with people taking actions without properly knowing what they were doing, and that’s what most reformers are still trying to do, and that’s never going to work well.

Instead of saying “unions are bad and anti-capitalist”, it would be much more productive and effective to figure out why people want unions and which of their complaints about the status quo are correct. Then come up with free-market-compatible solutions as an alternative to unionizing and also explain why some of the complaints are incorrect. But some of the complaints are correct, and that needs to be acknowledged and addressed. And if no one proposes free market solutions, then people are going to be unhappy and/or use non-free-market attempted solutions. I don’t recall ever seeing a pro free market thinker discuss the legitimate complaints union-considering workers have and how a free market could actually help with some of those problems (and how others are not the business of the economic system or government and should be solved in other ways – the free market is compatible with many things, and makes good outcomes possible, but doesn’t even try to prevent all bad outcomes).

This is similar to how I argued that big tech deplatforming and censorship is incompatible with the free market and i gave some arguments about how making society more capitalist could fix some of the very real problems. that contrasts with the widespread libertarian and Objectivist denial that there is a problem and their claim that what’s going on is compatible with the free market and therefore good.

the same kind of thing should be done with unions, minimum wage, rent control and more – those are all related to major problems in society today which should be acknowledged so we can then explain some realistic, practical solutions in line with free market thinking. an example that’s handled better is healthcare – ppl actually say pretty clearly that high US healthcare prices and the bad situation is due to government intervention and lack of a free market. but there are more claims about abstract principles than workable policy proposals. ppl do also say we need to build more housing and the market could do that if not for the govt stopping it, but i never see them connect that to saying like “the concerns that drive you to desire rent control are valid” instead of being hostile to anyone who is tempted by rent control.

I’ve seen a bunch of people including George Reisman praising Bezos, Musk and others who I’m pretty sure are terrible people who are doing a ton of stuff wrong that violates the values of Objectivism, Austrian Economics, classical liberalism, etc. Curiosity – Crony Capitalists