From Cafe Hayek:
Under such rules (along, of course, with basic laws of property, contract, and tort) – and in a culture that honors bourgeois virtues and applauds innovators – there will be lots of entrepreneurs striving to earn profit (and respect) by creating new goods and services. These entrepreneurs will compete with each other, as well as with producers of older, established goods and services. The goods and services that yield profits today for their producers will be the ones that consumers, spending their own money and only their own money, today choose above all others. No finer, more objective, or more accurate test is available for determining how scarce resources should be used.
Tomorrow, of course, entrepreneurs will introduce newer products and newer production processes. Some of these, tested by market competition, will succeed. Others will fail. Some older goods and services, once profitable to produce, will become unprofitable to produce. Resources, including human labor, will shift from these older to the newer lines of production.
And so it goes in a free, prosperous, and growing market economy, day-in and day-out; year-in, year-out; decade-in, decade-out. Such an economy is controlled or guided by no one, yet it serves everyone remarkable well – if, though, with the requirement that everyone abide by the rules of the game. These rules are those listed above. These rules imply that no one has a right to any one else’s property – a rule that, in turn, implies that no producer has a right either to prevent other producers (even those in foreign countries) from competing for the patronage of her customers, or to obstruct her customers from shifting their expenditures away from her product offerings.
No one guarantees that the choices won't be intensely annoying, of course. I often observe that rich people would spend their money much better if they consulted me about their choices. But on the whole, the choices made by free crowds vastly outperform those mandated by wise leaders. Why this should be so is a mystery to me, but I can't dispute it, and therefore discount all economic theories that depend on confidence in the unfettered choice of the single person who is advocating them.


Grim said...

Your opponents would mostly be happy to concede the point as far as 'crowds' go. You'd get the occasional Sir Humphrey who really wants set-asides for symphonies, operas, and quality radio programs that the market won't support, being interested in the latest sex-and-violence-soaked TV soap instead. Still, for the most part that is an old-school Liberal position that is not where objections are arising.

The place where objections are arising is that place where you don't have "crowds" anymore, but sufficiently concentrated wealth that only a few people are making the decisions in any case. That seems to be true both on the right and the left, as per the post this weekend. The market is driving that kind of corruption in our political systems as well as whatever rising-tides-that-float-all-boats goodness. The reason Republicans completely caved in on immigration isn't that it was a crowd favorite. It's the interests of concentrated wealth among the donor class that is driving this. Nor can the market just 'take over' immigration policy; it's a political issue by nature and necessity.

douglas said...

That critiques is really one not of taking choice away, but limiting it to a select few choices. We've seen this before, and seen it dealt with- take the news media: Before, it was all lefty from PBS to the Alphabets to Cable. Murdoch saw an opening to create a choice where one did not previously exist, and created Fox news- not because it was his ideological preference, but because it would make money. We also saw new technologies- the internet, blogs- open up new channels of communication that people could use to get their news, and so things have shifted- what once seemed like an impenetrable wall of limited choices controlled by a select few in collaboration has begun to break down. And so it goes.

Texan99 said...

My husband always laughs at that underserved "niche market" Ailes identified--about half the listening public, by some accounts.