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Regulating the Economy

By       Message Ludwik Kowalski     Permalink
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1) In an article posted yesterday,

Richmaond Shreve wrote: "If a politician announced he was running on a platform of 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his need' he would be laughed off the stage. That is also the correct response to anyone who continues to make the case that markets do best when left alone."-

2) And in a message posted today, 

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Rob Kall wrote: "... Pass a law that prevents the Federal Reserve Bank for minting billions and giving them away without accountability. Oh? The Fed is not a part of the government? Include some regulations that put the Fed out of business if it fails to comply. Tax it, regulate it, make some of the things it does illegal. Or better yet. Get rid of it. Back before the Civil War, one of the strongest planks of the Democratic party was opposition to any national bank. Get back on that horse!!"-

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3) I think that it is not possible to "get back on that horse."- Modern economy must be regulated. I am neither economist nor political scientist. But articles posted at this website often make me think about the economy, especially this year. I am a retired physics teacher and I believe that trends in the economy can be controlled. I view economy as just another  man-made system. Is this acceptable?

Some say that the economy should not be regulated because it regulates itself. Others say that more regulation is necessary. And many think that too much regulation is as bad as too little. All of them miss two important points: Regulators should be (a) honest and (b) highly knowledgeable. The first point is obvious; regulators should control the economy for the benefit of the entire society. 

The second point becomes obvious when one realizes that our modern economy is complex. Millions of things can be changed in it but random changes are likely to do more harm than good. Those who are not experts, and who are not able to understand experts, should not be allowed to control our economy. Economists and political scientists are social engineers; their qualifications are as important as qualifications of those who design and maintain cars, bridges and nuclear power plants.  

Economic regulations are essential in critical situations, such as we now have. They are also important in normal situations. Societies are far from perfect and constant improvements are needed. Someone has to protect us from greedy people and selfish organizations. Government should be in charge of reducing injustice and poverty. New ideas in social engineering should be discussed by experts. Then the ideas should be tested on a small scale, for example only in New York City, or in New York State. Modern airplanes resulted from slow evolution started in 1903. The same is true for our radios, computers, and TV sets. Each innovation was checked and double-checked before becoming part of our lives. Evolutionary progress, by small reversible changes, is better than a sudden change--as in 1917, when too many untested proposals were implemented by Bolsheviks at the same time. Why should social engineering be different from other kinds of engineering, such as electrical, mechanical, chemical or nuclear? 

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Ludwik Kowalski is a retired physics teacher (Professor emeritus, Montclair State University, New Jersey, USA). He is the author of two recently-published FREE books:

1) "Hell on Earth: Brutality and violence under the Stalinist regime" (more...)

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