Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Allocation, Distribution & Fairness

Peter Boettke:
The juxtaposition of the exchange approach to economics with the approach to economics that emphasizes optimal society allocation and just distribution as products of a benevolent social planner sets the stage for Buchanan's distinction between economics and politics, as well as the emphasis on rules and the institutional framework.  Questions of  "just distribution" are never about particular distributions of resources but instead always about the choices over the rules of the game which engender a pattern of exchange, production, and thus distribution.  Fairness is about rules, not outcomes; justice is about process, not end-states. [Living Economics, p. 50]

Monday, September 03, 2012

Congress shall make no law. . . .

You might be interested in an interview of Hayek done by James Buchanan. Hayek made the following suggestion about the Constitution:
Well, among the Founding Fathers, there were some who very clearly saw the very point I am making.  And I believe they did try, by the design of the American Constitution, to achieve a limit on their powers.  After all, the one phrase in the American Constitution, or rather in the First Amendment, which I think most highly of is the phrase, "Congress shall make no law. . . "  Now, that's unique, but unfortunately [it goes] only to a particular point.  I think the phrase ought to read, "Congress should make no law authorizing government to take any discriminatory measures of coercion."  I think this would make all the other rights unnecessary and create the sort of conditions which I want to see.
I like the idea.  If you are interested in Hayek's analysis that leads to this suggestion, then you will want to read Law, Legislation, and Liberty (all 3 volumes), and perhaps The Constitution of Liberty as well.