Politicians often support “industrial policy,” which means they get to grant special favors to well-connected companies or industries.
But as explained by Professor Burton Folsom, this approach didn’t work very will in the 1800s.
It’s not surprising, of course, that politicians like having the power to grant favors. It makes them feel important.
But such policies don’t work. At least if our measure of success includes things like competitiveness and efficiency. Or of if we care about the best interests of consumers and taxpayers.
Which is why is better to be on the correct side of this spectrum. In other words, as far from Soviet-style central planning as possible (I used to cite Hong Kong as an example of laissez-faire, but that may no longer be accurate).
By the way, the video also makes a good point about how the United States was not a laissez-faire…
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