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Translating politicians: market failures?

by Franco L. Farías

When Aristotle said that we are Zoon Politikon , political animals, I pray this be interpreted to mean that, when living in society, we inexorably act and take a stand regarding changes or the administration of our city, village, neighborhood, etc. This concept - that of a political animal - should never be interpreted to mean that we are all politicians, as far as today's professional (or aspiring) politicians are concerned.

Well, there is no greater social scourge than professional politicians . They are professionals, yes; but in the vile art of deception and in convulsively stealing a part - no small part - of our income; Adam Smith already said that “there is no art that the government learns more quickly than that of taking money from the pockets of the people.” They commonly call them taxes and call them necessary, but in what society is stealing necessary for it to continue to exist? In none: Taxes are the simile of being robbed by a thief and, some time later, he returns with an ice cream, gives it to you (even though he bought it with your money) and demands devotion and respect from you because he gave you the ice cream. frozen. You would say something like, “If I hadn't bought you this ice cream, no one would have done it for you. What's more, this is another marking failure.” The essence of the robbery is still intact, the only thing that changed was that, after the robbery, part of the money was used to buy him something.

What is now so easy to appreciate, when a professional politician says it, is almost imperceptible. When they say “let's raise taxes,” what else do they say other than “we want to steal more”? It is precisely this, the ability to make slavery look like freedom, war like peace, and ignorance like wisdom (just like in 1984!), that makes them so unpleasant to those of us who seek to live honestly.

When politicians want to intervene in the market, whether to benefit a businessman friend, fill their pockets more, or ideological blindness, which prevents them from seeing how things really work, they accuse market failures. They bring these market failures to the fore when something happens that they do not want to happen. Then, only the benevolent State is the one who can fix this failure and, surprise, it only knows how to fix them by restricting the freedom of citizens.

NG Mankiw, one of politicians' favorite economists, tells us that "Economists use the term market failure to refer to a situation in which the market, by itself, does not allocate resources efficiently." Could it really be that the market could fail? Let us then ask what the market is: The market, simply, is the process of social cooperation and exchange of individuals. In simple words, the market is nothing more than the interactions (purchases, sales, barter, etc.) that people have when we live connected to each other.

When we say that the market allocates resources, we are simply saying that, when something is highly desired, new suppliers will arrive to offer the desired good and will allocate their resources to the production of that good. Likewise, when a good is despised by the vast majority of people - no one requires it to achieve a goal - those who produce that despised good allocate their resources to the production of goods more desired by society.

Then, when we are told that market failures cause the market to not allocate resources efficiently, understanding what the market really is and how resources are allocated in the economy, it seems that what politicians really want to say is “you, the stupid people, don't even know what you want (but you are eligible to vote). I, the know-it-all politician, know better than yourselves what you want, so stop buying and selling those things that you really don't want, buy and sell only what I tell you and at the price I tell you."

It would seem then that politicians, once again - to no one's surprise - have lied to citizens. There are no such things as “market failures,” only things politicians want you to do and things you don't.

Franco L. Farías is director of the Libertarian Movement of Guatemala and Local Coordinator of Students For Liberty, he is an announcer in Libertópolis and a teacher at a school in the interior.

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