The New Libertarian Posted by: Dale Franks
on Wednesday, January 18, 2006
New content is available at The New Libertarian. This update is an important and interesting article by Conjectures and Refutations' Matt McIntosh, called Game Theory, Public Choice, and Why It Matters.
The fact of the matter is that in the grand scheme of things, the character of individual politicians counts for little in comparison to the structure of the institutions they find themselves in. The Founding Fathers of the United States understood this when they designed the U.S. Constitution, which was an early triumph of the kind of institutional thinking we need today more than ever. As things currently stand, the logic of the situation in the federal government encourages and practically necessitates wasteful spending regardless of which party is in power or who is sitting in the seats — as Republicans who favour fiscal responsibility have lately discovered, much to their dismay. Economists have known this since at least the 1960s, when the field of “public choice” economics emerged, using the tools of economics to analyze the incentive structure of government in much the same way they'd already been used to analyze the incentives of markets.
We already have the intellectual tools to understand what needs to be done in order to reform the incentive structure of government; all that's required is the focus and political will to apply them.