Evidence that markets work is used as proof that markets don\’t work……ouch!
But, according to the classical economic theory that is still fetishised in some parts of the blogosphere, an organisation like CAMRA should be unnecessary. Markets react to supply and demand. If there is enough demand for traditional beer, so the story goes, new firms will enter the market to satisfy that demand. However, when you look at what firms actually do, rather than what the theory says they do, the reality of markets is different. In many sectors, firms adopt industry standards which enable them to promote their collective interests at the expense of customers.
And our flipchartfairytaleman goes on to insist that the very success of CAMRA is proof that markets don\’t work.
\”Markets\” are not some box that you open and then through some equivalent of Brownian, random, motion get a structured society. Hayek\’s \”spontaneous order\” acknowledges that humans have desires (which molecules really don\’t), agency (ditto) and the ability to cooperate.
Our spontaneous order is thus an outcome of people cooperating by using their ability to act, their agency, to achieve their desires. Rather than, say, those people being directed to do something, legislated into doing something or even commanded, whipped into or executed for not doing that thing….all, recall, methods of human organisation that have actually been tried.
Such combinations of desire agency and cooperation are legion in any society: no one has ever quite, despite Pol Pot having a damn good go, managed to stamp it out. In our own society, looking back into history, we can see peeps thinking about unemployment and sickness and the needs for communal support in such times: we got the Friendly Societies. The Co Op started out as mutual assurance (assurance note, not insurance) against the known to be coming but unknown time of arrival of burial expenses. The cost of building a house was too high to be managed without mobilising communal savings: thus the Building Societies.
Given that all of these, plus innumerable others, were the result of voluntary action they are market responses, not non-market responses.
Which moves us to CAMRA. Overbearing prigs they have become (as with those cheerleaders for the Building Societies like Our Chuka) but they too started out as humans voluntarily using their agency and ability to cooperate to achieve their desire: a pint that\’s worth drinking.
And thus, far from CAMRA (or any other such voluntary organisation or banding together) being something which should be unnecessary in a market economy, they are exactly the manner in which a market economy works: voluntary, not directed, cooperation to achieve the desired goal(s). That spontaneous order coming from the application of the innate human abilities to use agency and cooperation to achieve a collective desire.
Flipchartfairytaleman\’s argument is that exactly what makes markets work is proof that markets don\’t work.
Ooooh, the Stupid, it hurts!