Join us in Sydney on Tuesday, 26 September for a special evening featuring Professor John Cochrane for a lecture and conversation with economist and CIS adjunct fellow Gene Tunny. This event will be Professor Cochrane’s only public appearance in Australia.
Creeping stagnation ought to be recognised as the central economic issue of our time. Growth is not just more stuff, it’s vastly better goods and services; it’s health, environment, education, and culture; it’s defence, social programs, and repaying government debt. Why are we stagnating?
Much regulation protects politically influential businesses, workers, and other constituencies from the disruptions of growth. Responsive democracies give people what they want, good and hard. And in return, regulation extorts political support from those beneficiaries. We have to fix the regulatory structure, to give growth a seat at the table.
Economists are somewhat at fault too. They are taught to look at every problem, diagnose “market failure,” and advocate new rules to be implemented by an omniscient, benevolent planner. But we do not live in a free market. When you see a problem, look first for the regulation that caused it.
John Cochrane is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution in California and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute in Washington. He is author of The Fiscal Theory of the Price Level (Princeton University Press) and The Grumpy Economist a blog of news, views, and commentary, from a humorous free-market point of view.
Gene Tunny, a former Australian Treasury official, is director of Adept Economics and a 1997 CIS Liberty and Society alumnus. He is author Debunking Degrowth (CIS) and Beautiful One Day, Broke the Next: Queensland’s Public Finances Since Sir Joh and Sir Leo (Connor Court).