Someone sent me the below email (reprinted with permission):
I am in the middle of chapter 3 Lessons for the Young Economist. So far I think it is a fantastic piece of work. The arguments are presented in a clear, unassailable manner that promotes true insight and understanding. I love the way it boils down to base principles and then bubbles up to useful insights and observations. I do have a suggestion for improvement, though: go easier on the ideological introduction. Working from “first principles” makes it very tough for opponents and skeptics to raise objections. If your principles about group actions are true, they should hold for corporations as well as governments. Spread around the examples.
“After reading the lessons in this book, you will realize that there are perfectly sensible reasons for the actions of government officials. Their actions often don’t make any sense when compared to the official justifications given for the actions, but there’s a simple explanation for that too: government officials routinely lie. (Notice that lying is itself a purposeful action.)”
Replace ‘government’ with ‘corporate’ and the conclusions still hold. I think your piece would be more effective as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” in this way. I use ‘wolf’ very tongue-in-cheek here, because I believe Austrian economics is the best explanation. It’s more like, positive meme injection. Put the medicine in a capsule that won’t be immediately rejected.
And it’s also just about intellectual honesty. Hold only principles sacred. Don’t pick winners.
I totally understand what he is saying, but I must confess that it doesn’t sound nearly as compelling to me to say, “Corporate officials routinely lie” as to say “Government officials routinely lie.”
Don’t get me wrong, I understand that on any given day, there are corporate officials who are lying to the public. But by the same token, on any given day there are dentists and high school principals who are lying to the public. So when we say “such-and-such routinely lie” I think it implies something stronger, that it is part of their job description as it were.
What do you guys think? Is this just showing my bias as a corporate shill (or as an anti-government zealot)?