We’ve all heard about “the market” doing this to people, doing that to people, getting pulled over for DUI…oh, wait, that was Paris Hilton. But I labor under the impression that most folk don’t have a good conception of the fact that “the market” is shorthand for a much more complicated idea. For example, most people think the market rewards those with money. In fact, the market defines what a good decision is, and then rewards those who make good decisions.
Let’s look at baseball for an example. The eight cities whose teams are in the playoffs this year, five are ranked in the top six in population: New York (1), Los Angeles (2), Chicago (3), Philadelphia (5), and Phoenix (6). The other three, however are much lower in the rankings (close to or even below our beloved Nashville at 28): Boston (24), Denver (25), and Cleveland (39).
When last we saw our intrepid heroes, the approaching wave of baby-boomers was threatening to overwhelm OASDI, and hard-working Polish farmers had the CAP at the point of several rusty pitchforks (oh, the tetanus!). What strikes me in the comparison of the two is the response to the crisis in each. Certainly, the fatal flaws in these programs have existed from their inception (since they lie in that very inception). Both, however, have recently faced the need for reform from an impending, irresistible, and disastrous increase in cost. But reform has occurred in only one of these cases.
I know you were all anticipating the exciting conclusion to our CAP/OASDI debate. Both of you. Until you took your medication. And that (sadly, the post, not the medicaiton) is still in the works for Wednesday (please, hold your death threats).
In the meantime, I wanted to post an urgent bulletin. All right, so urgent is a little strong. It happened Saturday night, and this is Monday, so obviously it’s not that pressing. But this weekend I went to visit my in-laws. This news becomes slightly less mundane when I tell you that my in-laws live in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee. Yes, Saturday night I went to Fred Thompson’s homecoming rally in the hometown he shares with my wife and her family.
The question left before us: is a democratic deficit a deficiency? In answering this, I am drawn (against my will) to the comparison of two policies. In the EU corner, weighing 41.6 billion euro, the Mussels from Brussels, the Gourd from the Fjord, I give you…the Common Agricultural Policy!
For many years, the CAP was the most prominent facet of integration in Europe. Certainly, EU folk promoted it that way. It was the most direct contact that the average citizen of EU countries had with the supranational institutions their governments had created. The short course is a sadly familiar story: price floors stimulate overproduction.
You hear a lot in European Union circles about “democratic deficit.” The argument—or perhaps more accurately, assumption—is that EU institutions are not sufficiently accountable to voters. I have to admit, the term has always disturbed me, though not for the usual reasons. I’m not disturbed that there is a deficit, though many EU folks get highly exercised on that point. Instead, I’m disturbed that we worry about there being enough democracy. (Or, as you’re probably thinking now, I’m just plain disturbed.)
Let me explain. The claim of a democratic deficit implies that there is something inherently just, right, or desirable about democracy. It smuggles in a moral claim, and while I have nothing against moral claims, I’d like for them to be justified. (And that’s a participle, not passive voice.)
I’m glad you stopped by.
Welcome to the LockeSmith blog, brought to you by the friendly folks at the LockeSmith Institute. I could take this opportunity to tell you about the Institute—our hopes, our dreams, that we like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain. But I’ll trust you to navigate to the Institute’s site to read all about that.
What I should tell you is that this is part of a re-launching of the LockeSmith Institute. We still have all of our original aims, encouraging undergraduate research in the classical liberal tradition and boldly casting the light of knowledge into the encroaching darkness. (If I don’t have at least one overblown and pretentious sentence, the union (Amalgamated Bricklayers and Dental Assistants Local 153) will yank my card.)