Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Market Failure Challenge: Day 5

The challenge is on and attackers are coming from left and right. The last post has 24 comments on it and rising. This has become a fairly popular challenge, and yet I feel that a good argument has not been leveled.

The interventionists have so far centered on the argument of rising prices. Specifically, they say that rising prices are an example of market failure and that speculation is unnecessary and extraneous to the market.

But obviously, this is nonsense. Rising prices are a hallmark of the free market; without rising prices we would have no way of conserving resources. This system works best when the currency is not manipulated. What happens when the currency is devalued is that the price of all goods goes up in general. Furthermore, investors begin to speculate about the actions of the currency manipulators. This action tries to help conserve resources, but we would be better off without the currency manipulation. Investors stabilize the price of goods, and this is a great thing for all of us. The best example of this would be crops.

Without investors, we would have produce priced very low when they are in season and priced very high when they are not in season. Investors come by and conserve some resources so that we have a steady price level year-round (at least compared to the situation without investors). But people bemoan the actions of investors. They say that they just hold goods from the market to raise prices and sell for a profit. What a mischaracterization! Producers do the exact same thing. Imagine if water was priced as low as possible during the spring. We would be left with no water the rest of the year! Because the prices are higher during the spring, it guarantees that we have water until the next spring. And this is a bad thing because they make a profit?

"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self interest." Let's not be angry that people make profits. Without those profits, what would be the point of those companies conserving resources for us all?


  1. Sounds like you're not making many converts, Tony. I'm not surprised knowing that group. But, if you are enjoying the fray, that's all that is important.


  2. Well when the opposition has really only been coming from one person who is as deaf as a white cat, what can you expect? I just hope that there are readers that are too proud to admit that I have cast some doubt. A dreamer always has his dreams, I suppose.