Monday, June 4, 2012

Posner on Comparative Institutional Analysis

Over at the Becker-Posner Blog (here), the pragmatic Richard Posner has an elegant post that eschews the usual comparisons of evil capitalism with ideal socialism, or vice versa. Instead, he more realistically compares inevitably flawed systems of resource-entitlement allocation. Here's a sample:
The institutional structure of the United States is under stress. We might be in dangerous economic straits if the dollar were not the principal international reserve currency and the eurozone in deep fiscal trouble. We have a huge public debt, dangerously neglected infrastructure, a greatly overextended system of criminal punishment, a seeming inability to come to grips with grave environmental problems such as global warming, a very costly but inadequate educational system, unsound immigration policies, an embarrassing obesity epidemic, an excessively costly health care system, a possible rise in structural unemployment, fiscal crises in state and local governments, a screwed-up tax system, a dysfunctional patent system, and growing economic inequality that may soon create serious social tensions. Our capitalist system needs a lot of work to achieve proper capitalist goals.

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