If there is anything that Krugman hates, it is the presence of markets that are beyond government control. (And I do NOT include the financial markets that went over a cliff with the housing bubble. To claim that housing, with all of its government subsidies, government lending agencies, and government regulatory mazes is a "free market" is a very sick joke.)
Yet, Krugman has become a household word because of the markets that have developed on the World Wide Web, which (despite whatever we might hear from Robert Reich and Robert Kuttner) is not a product of the Wisdom of the State. As Gerard Docherty points out in this article, we have been watching a huge free market experiment for more than a decade, and it has affected our lives in ways we cannot imagine.
(I'm sure that the statists would claim that GOVERNMENT invented the Internet in the late 1960s as a Civil Defense mechanism to provide a way for government agencies to communicate in the event of nuclear war. While that technically is true, government did not invent the web as we know it, and until the advent of computers and fiber optics, the Internet had no commercial use.)
Despite its great complexity and rapid development over the last 10 years, the web community works largely without state intervention of any sort. Web designers did not need the hand of government to develop the skills to create ever more complex websites; IT professionals did not wait to read official reports saying they had to adapt as the technology changed; and companies were quick to offer the ever-evolving range of services needed for the web to run smoothly.The article is very good, as it goes into the details of what happens with the web and how it always is many steps ahead of government agents -- who would love nothing more than to gain control of it simply for the reason that government agents believe they should be controlling our lives.
In other words, the private sector adapted, and adapted very quickly. Free-market mechanisms did what they always do — they rushed to meet consumer needs. This is reflected not only in the wide range of products available but also in the rapid drop in prices of almost every aspect of the web. Ten years ago, a personal website was an expensive proposition, especially if you needed anything professional or polished. Today, in the form of blogging software or services like Facebook, it is free. The overall cost of entry — taking into account the cost of training needed only a decade ago and now no longer necessary — has not so much dropped as evaporated. This low cost of entry has allowed a wide variety of individuals and companies to trade online, providing considerable choice for consumers.
Although the growth we have seen online is exceptional, it is still only a faster version of something capitalism does well: meeting a myriad of needs in a diverse society. It is difficult to imagine a better example of the free market at work.
And what better example of the typical government shyster than...Anthony Wiener, the disgraced former New York congressman who apparently worshiped not only power but his own sexual image. Gregory Bresiger has a great article here about this man who in his adult life has only known the State and his own desire to climb up the ladder of power. Bresiger writes:
Weiner is part of a flawed system that leads to the frequent reelection of career politicians who believe that government will solve every problem. He is also a careerist pol with zero experience in the private sector. Just like his mentor, Senator Chuck Schumer, he came out of college and went straight on the government payroll as an aide. He never knew anything but lusting after power and more power. Weiner was quoted as saying that he couldn't "imagine not being a congressman."Noting the slavish devotion that modern voters tend to have with the clueless politicians they follow, Bresiger notes:
Yet how different is he from the political class of men and women, Republican and Democrat, who rule us today? Not very different. These are people who believe in the perpetual campaign and, by implication, a perpetually bigger government. It has grown into a Leviathan, a Leviathan that is enabled and expanded by people like Weiner.
The true believers — those who believe in their party no matter what, those who would vote for Idi Amin just as long as he was "one of them" (a loyal party member who won a primary) — will go on in this kind of self-imposed mental slavery that it seems impossible to escape. This problem is aggravated by the power of incumbency.No, I doubt you would read anything like this in Krugman's columns, as Krugman is one of those True Believers, someone who thinks that if Really Smart People Like Krugman have enough control, the world will be a great place.
Indeed, in most of Weiner's seven elections in this district the Republicans rarely mounted a serious challenge. Weiner could be arrogant because he, along with many others, never faced a serious challenge. That is true in hundreds of districts around our nation, a nation many Americans insist is a democratic example for the rest of the world.
That is why it is wrong for our government to ram its version of democracy down on the rest of the world, killing thousands of people in the process. This is an imperial system that Anthony Weiner, too busy running for reelection and appearing on cable-television shows, never seriously considered.