Saturday, December 06, 2014
Efficiency vs. Liberty
As economists we often try to finds ways to have the most efficient allocation of resources or increase efficiency. There are countless studies and research papers in economics about different public policies we can enact to achieve higher GDP or greater productivity. These recommendations seem to always skip over whether or not the action of the new policy will go against liberty. Liberty is simply overlooked on a majority of policy recommendations or policy decisions.
I don't expect every economist to use liberty in their policy decisions. I do expect some judgment on morality to be made before the policy recommendation is made. The lack of judgment based on morality or liberty makes the argument that efficiency is always more important than liberty. I heard the idea the other day of giving more money to early education would increase GDP latter down the road when the children are older. However, when this idea was being pitched to me there no mention of whether if it was right or wrong to take money from everyone and give it to the few young children. It's difficult to understand policy decisions like these because they simply ignore whether it is right to force everyone to do something like this.
I find when economists make recommendations that affect public policy I almost automatically disregard it immediately because I have no interest in doing something that would limit liberty. When economists make recommendations of increasing GDP or being more productive the way to achieve this should be in the private marketplace. Economists should look for ways to increase productivity in the private markets. If economists did this then no one would be forced to do something they did not.