Friday, August 05, 2005

Do Constitutions Matter?

Bryan Caplan:
"Many economists hold the view that constitutions don't affect policy. The argument goes roughly like this: 'If most people want to do X, no sentence on a musty piece of parchment is going to stop them.' Even if this argument is correct, however, constitutions might work anyway. How? By changing what people want."

I'm not sure how to react to this. How does it strike you?

For one thing, the "argument" refers to an individual's choice to act by doing X, and I think that a constitution is written with respect to the actions chosen by government.

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