Public choice economics

We start from the observation that politicians do what benefits politicians, not necessarily what benefits the populace. It\’s hardly a shocking assumption: we\’re quite happy in all other areas of life to think that self-interest rules. We\’re also quite happy, or at least some of us are, to note that this pursuit of enlightened self-interest does indeed benefit the populace. Think of the butcher and the baker.

So this assumption that politicians do what benefits politicians, how strongly is this held? Here\’s The Observer, probably the most liberal paper in the country. There\’s something of a holdover of the classical liberalism of its past and certainly a healthy dose of "modern liberalsim" although it tends not to be quite as forward in this sense as its sister paper, The Guardian.

You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." The words of Rahm Emanuel, President-elect Obama\’s chief of staff, have clearly caught Gordon Brown\’s attention. As today\’s interview reveals, the prime minister is determined to use the economic crisis to re-establish his credentials as the man best able to lead Britain through troubled times. His certainty of purpose is welcome, but success depends less on rhetoric and more on hard policy.The criticism of Gordon Brown has always been his focus on tactics, not strategy: an obsessive desire to corner the opposition and establish party political dividing lines. It was these characteristics that produced the mess of the 10p tax band abolition and the needless fight over 90 days\’ detention. But now Brown has the chance to shed his partisan image

That certainly reads to me like the essence of public choice economics, that politicians juggle policy so as to cement their own position rather than to actually do anything beneficial, is believed there. Indeed, the very essence of their message there is that Brown should stop doing what he has been doing for the past 12 years and start to think about policy in policy terms, not political.

So, yes, I think we can take it that even the liberals agree.

Leave a Reply

Name and email are required. Your email address will not be published.