Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Gates Needs Econ Course

John Stossel nails Bill Gates for a speech he gave to Harvard graduates telling them to help the poor because "the market did not reward saving the lives of these children" (in poor nations). The market is to blame for poverty? Wow, he's as ignorant about political economy as he is wealthy. The world is full of examples of the market alleviating the worst issues of poverty and hunger. How about the people of China, India, South Korea, etc. all pulled themselves out of poverty and hunger by utilizing the market.

"Can he name one poor country that permits the free market to operate? The problem is not that the market doesn't make it profitable to save lives -- it most certainly does. The problem is that Third World countries have overbearing, corrupt governments that are obstacles to private property and freedom. That's why the children's parents have no voice or power. Poor people in the West and in East Asia lifted themselves out of poverty by relying largely on the unplanned market process. That process -- countless individuals pursuing their own interests by trading with one another -- is, as Nobel Prize-winning economist F.A. Hayek put it, a "discovery procedure." Through the price system and free competition, it clarifies tradeoffs of scarce resources, generates the lowest-cost solutions, and provides feedback about success and failure through profit and loss. This spontaneous order is far better at "saving the lives of these children."

No comments: