Freeman

ANYTHING PEACEFUL

Deficits: The Latest Fashion in Paris and Athens

MAY 09, 2012 by NICHOLAS SNOW

With the recent elections in France and Greece, austerity has seemingly been rejected. Of late, many European countries have been pushing austerity measures, but now French and Greek voters appear to prefer increased government spending, more government jobs, and more inflation. This is a common path for governments thanks to the legacy of John Maynard Keynes: Deficits ceased being only for emergencies, such as war or natural disasters. They became the yellow-brick road to prosperity, the beguiling cure for our economic lows.

Perhaps the French and Greeks should have read James Buchanan and Richard Wagner’s important book, Democracy in Deficit: The Political Legacy of Lord Keynes. The free market is blamed for the ills created by democracy, and democracy often takes credit for the good free markets bring. So maybe the voters would not have listened anyway. France and Greece may be in for some harsh times in the long run As Milton Friedman explained in his January 2, 1984, Newsweek column, deficits are troubling and costly. H. L. Mencken may have had it right: “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

comments powered by Disqus

EMAIL UPDATES

* indicates required
Sign me up for...

CURRENT ISSUE

September 2014

For centuries, hierarchical models dominated human organizations. Kings, warlords, and emperors could rally groups--but also oppress them. Non-hierarchical forms of organization, though, are increasingly defining our lives. It's no secret how this shift has benefited out social lives, including dating, and it's becoming more commonplace even in the corporate world. But it has also now come even to organizations bent on domination rather than human flourishing, as the Islamic State shows. If even destructive groups rely on this form of entrepreneurial organization, then hierarchy's time could truly be coming to an end.
Download Free PDF

PAST ISSUES

SUBSCRIBE

RENEW YOUR SUBSCRIPTION