Stay in your Lane, Politicians
because you make the economy worse
You and I live by the wisdom of Britain’s last sensible politician before the descent into World War I: Lord Salisbury. And he said
No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you never should trust experts.
Hey there Tony (Fauci) baby!
If Lord Salisbury were alive today, he would probably say:
No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you never should let politicians interfere with the economy.
OK, enough of the late Victorian argot. I think that there is another, more direct and vital maxim:
Stay in your lane, politicians!
For us followers of Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt that wisdom naturally falls out of the sense of the friend-enemy distinction. If you are a politician then your life is about fighting your enemies and gifting your friends, and never mind what it does to the economy.
The economy is neither about friends or about enemies, but only buyers and sellers, employers and employees. It has nothing to do with the case of the friend-enemy distinction.
But there is a problem. The political enthusiasts, from politicians to devoted activists, all want to inject politics into the economy. Never mind buyers and sellers: what about hated monopolists? Never mind employees and employers, what about the victimized employees as practically slave labor?
The result is that whenever politicians get into the economy they Make Things Worse.
And I learned of an interesting example from a friend born in Mexico. Back in the day life was good in Mexico City, but then the government created a program to help the rural poor move to the city. So the rural poor crowded into the city and the result is the chaotic mess of the Mexico City of today.
Now, if you listened to the economic experts, they might well have said: good idea, because maybe we can avoid the centuries of the poor starving in the countryside as happened in Europe in the early modern period as landowners got into “improvement.”
Yes, theoretically, you could design a government program to do that. But practically, it is bound to go wrong, because of politicians obsessively gifting their friends and harming their enemies.
Here’s another case, in Malawi of all places, where the foreign aid experts want to help the subsistence farmers become cane-sugar farmers. Only, of course the economy is riddled with graft already, because of the foreign aid component of the economy. And all the small businessmen are Indian or Arab. Guess what will happen to the indigenous African subsistence farmers in the Cane Sugar Revolution.
The solution to the problem really is simple. All we have to do is change the culture so that any time a politician ventures into the economic realm the whole world rises up in scorn and sneers: “stay in your lane, racist.”
And you media types can put the proposing politician on the hot seat and ask “but isn’t it true that studies show that almost all government interventions in the economy Make Things Worse?”
Hello media types! Anybody there?