Re: Article excerpt on Market failure to sufficently weigh the future?

From: Robin Hanson (
Date: Mon Oct 30 2000 - 07:02:47 MST

Hal Finney wrote:
>Keep in mind that this article is offered as an argument for government
>intervention into the decisions of private individuals. Individuals
>consistently regret their past actions, according to this argument, and
>a wise and enlightened government will therefore intervene to coerce or
>persuade them into taking a more far-sighted view. Those who object to
>such paternalistic actions may wish to consider the argument especially

Keep in mind that if you're going to carefully consider any argument
offered for government intervention you are going to be very busy for
many years to come, and you might as well become an economist :-).

Also keep in mind that demonstration of a market failure is far from a
sufficient argument for government intervention. On the margin governments
discourage, rather than encourage, people from investing in the future.
So the government failure in this area seems larger than any market
failure. Which argues against empowering government to fix the problem.

Robin Hanson
Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University
MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030-4444
703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323

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