This week, I just finished reading economist Robert Murphy’s tremendous book “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism.” The P.I.G. series contain fantastic books that debunk many of the myths of capitalism and the free market perpetrated by socialists, liberals, Keynesians and others who think government is the answer to everything.
At the end of the book, Murphy published “A 12-step Plan for Understanding the Free Market.” Here they are:
1. Admit that government “solutions” are a problem.
2. Have faith that human beings can interact peacefully, and that economic blessings are available for all.
3. Surrender to the fact that certain social ills cannot be eradicated by force or political “will.”
4. Ask yourself, “Do I want to advocate self-sufficiency and voluntary means, or do I want to look to politicians every time I don’t like something?”
5. Survey the past record of governments when it comes to economic “planning” or other alleged improvements.
6. Learn to look for the hidden costs of government intervention, rather than the superficial benefits.
7. Understand the role of market prices, and why tampering with them interferes with the job they have to perform.
8. Study history. Examine whether governments that violated private property rights stayed out of their citizens’ other affairs.
9. Before condemning a market outcome as unjust, first understand why it occurs.
10. Study other “spontaneous” social institutions, such as language and science, where no one is “in charge” and yet the outcome is quite orderly.
11. When politicians propose a new program, remember how much they said it would cost at the outset. Compare that number to the actual amount spent.
12. Go through the newspaper and discover how government meddling causes or exacerbates the conflict in virtually every story.