Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tebow!. And the Market.


I haven't forgotten this, but things interrupted.

"Kindly help me with one idea though. I don't get this notion of economic liberty. My son Jack, now six months out of college and looking for a job, knows he must work at some point if he is to have any kind of life. He is not free of that powerful constraint. For the folks in our cardiology practice the constraints of economic life even less room for any choice. So I hope you'll be patient and try again. From where I sit this idea of liberty seems restricted to those of us who can afford it"

The liberty I referred to was mostly from a consumer's perspective, but it applies equally well to employment. Your son Gabe is free to pursue any career he would like, except in cases were we, as a society, deliberately exclude him. For instance, no one can start up a cardiology practice without certain licenses. (Whether or not that is desirable is a completely different question). That is tremendous freedom. No one is telling him what to do, which in my lexicon, is freedom. Of course, prospective employers have the same freedom. So he, like all of us, face risks that the path we pursue will not be achievable. 

You make a curious point, "he must work at some point if he is to have any kind of life. He is not free of that powerful constraint." Well, of course not. But in any society, no matter the economic organization, he is not free of that constraint. Even at Walden's Pond, Thoureau had to work for his living. Fish did not magically jump into his fire, nor fruit and vegetables drop off the tree and march to his site. The question isn't that we have to work, the question is how we are going to manage the allocation of scarce resources and how we are going to the changing needs and demands of consumers. I personally think a command and control system has a long and unfortunate record of hurting people, particularly the poor and unpowerful. 

The other question is what do we as a society do for those who need help. My answer is as simple as yours. We help them.

Your cardiology partners (?) do face significant restraints. But we all do, from the day we are born. You may argue their constraints are greater than average. And they may be, but I think that is impossible to determine in the aggregate and can only be determined specifically. But again, we all have constraints. It is unlikely I would ever be able to join the NBA, or NFL as a player. That constraint has grown over time. So I misspoke by speaking of liberty without speaking of constraints as well.

One more thing.

Pats v Broncos today. Go Tebow.!


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