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« Speaking of Hayek, Here He Is Speaking at GMU in 1983 | Main | Food For Thought For The Weekend -- the Future of Capitalism »


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Wouldn't you define corruption as "illegal plunder," whereas what happens in the western democracy/ social welfare state is "legal plunder" (a la Plunkett's "honest graft")?

So we can be pretty well non-corrupt, but nonetheless our welfare/ transfer/ legalized plunder schemes are still sinking our overall economic performance (e.g. my dad and his multiple thousands $ of USDA farm subsidies).

So yeah, my initial reaction is that bona-fide corruption might not be that important, or that big an indicator of economic weakness.

Technically you are right, but what if legal plunder is contrary to the spirit of the Constitution? Is that corruption or not? Here I guess we can refer to the distinction between venal and systematic corruption (cf. John Wallis's work). Venal corruption is illegal plunder, but systematic is when corruption becomes legal and systemic. It implies some idea of law vs legislation I guess. It may be a matter of semantic, but I don't think so.

I just took a look at Bischoff and Siemers abstract and it seems like their work completely ignores the public ignorance literature. First of all they the claim that policy makers face a trade-off: "offering popular yet economically harmful policies increases the chance of being elected today, but decreases the chance of re-election."

But how can we claim that they see this as a trade-off unless we also maintain that they know that the policies they are advocating are bad, which does not seem to be the case (I would like to see the empirical evidence that suggests otherwise).

And another note, since voters are ignorant of the policies that are passed, who passes what policies and what policies are responsible for the bad(or good) macroeconomic performance, then why should retrospective voting serve as a self-correcting mechanism....

I am greatly amazed with your insight. This is an incredibly wonderful comment, thanks for sharing this.

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