Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why the free-market works better than a command economy

I really can’t add much to what Thomas Sowell so elegantly states:

When amateurs outperform professionals, there is something wrong with that profession.

If ordinary people, with no medical training, could perform surgery in their kitchens with steak knives, and get results that were better than those of surgeons in hospital operating rooms, the whole medical profession would be discredited.

Yet it is common for ordinary parents, with no training in education, to homeschool their children and consistently produce better academic results than those of children educated by teachers with Master's degrees and in schools spending upwards of $10,000 a year per student-- which is to say, more than a million dollars to educate ten kids from K through 12.

Nevertheless, we continue to take seriously the pretensions of educators who fail to educate, but who put on airs of having "professional" expertise beyond the understanding of mere parents.


she said: said...

Oh! I'm reading Thomas Sowell right now. He is my hands down favorite economist.

Renee said...

The command economy was never meant to be run alongside a capitalist one. Your conclusions are erroneous on that basis.

VH said...

Renee: Can you please show me where I concluded that a command economy should run alongside a capitalist one?

The Vegas Art Guy said...

Because those parents are ACTUALLY involved in their kid's education. When you see a school that is producing highly educated kids, the parents are always involved. If the parents don't care. It does not matter how much money the government spends, how gifted and committed the teachers and administrators are, the school will under perform because the parents are non existent in the equation.

Renee said...

Your title is "why the free-market works better than a command economy. Since the communism has never been practiced in the way that Marx envisioned it I feel that this is an unfair conclusion. Communism and Capitalism were not meant to exist at the same time.

VH said...

Ah, I see…communism hasn’t been tried yet with enough vigor or proper application; the degree that the world has seen applied of communism is enough to thoroughly discredit it as an economic and social model. But, I’m sure that this won’t satisfy you as an answer.

Jeff Perren said...

Sowell is rarely wrong, but it depends on whether you are talking about averages or individuals.

There are many struggling writers who are infinitely better than most professionals. (He not so humbly claimed for his own case and that of his friends.)

There are thousands of amateur cabinet makers, car mechanics, and many others that are better than all but a few professionals.


Consider the origin of the word "amateur" from the Latin meaning "lover" - not in the sexual sense, but in the sense of one who does it for the love of doing, not for money. In the Middle Ages, when the term was in wide use, this was the case. Professionals were considered lazy, incompetent, and unmotivated (just as many corporate types are today) because they had no interest in the doing, only the money.

That has little to do with whether the free market is better than a command economy (it is, overwhelmingly so).