Monday, January 21, 2008

Good Guys vs. Bad Guys

Tonight I watched a bit of a democratic debate featuring Clinton, O'bama, and Edwards. Needless to say I was disgusted very quickly. The fundamental problem I have with their answers (to a question about stimulus in the economy) is their perspective that given the right people in office, he or she will be able to guide the nation to prosperity (certain angels exists which don't respond to incentives). Thats not a realistic expectation in my view. What we must aim for is to set up the most appropriate incentive structure between individuals. This is summed up in a quote from a book I am currently reading "Knowledge and Decisions" by Thomas Sowell.

"Much discussion of the pros and cons of various 'issues' overlooks the crucial fact that the most basic decision is who makes the decision, under what constraints, and subject to what feedback mechanisms. This is fundamentally different from the approach which seeks better decisions by replacing 'the bad guys' with 'the good guys'--that is, by relying on differential rectitude and differential ingenuity rather than on a structure of incentives geared to the normal range of human propensities."

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