Monday, February 28, 2005

Ownership society

"'Market-augmenting government' is the answer Mancur Olson developed in response to the question of what type of government is needed for economic growth. The idea that markets are the best mechanism for facilitating growth now dominates prescriptions for economic development, but the circumstances in which markets develop are not fully understood ..." So begins the first chapter of Omar Azfar and Charles A. Cadwell's excellent anthology Market-Augmenting Government: The Institutional Foundations of Prosperity.

The book's contributors highlight the details of market-augmenting government. In addition to having to fathom the details, we have to jettison the politics of the New Deal and also the mindset that sees widespread market failure everywhere. The current move to an "ownership society" is apparently a no less than a serious first step on this road.