Thursday, 19 June 2008

Getting railroaded

Megan McArdle follows up on my previous post, which I think she took as being more critical of her position than I intended; I was attempting to use her post as a jumping off point for some broader thoughts on pluralism vs. centralism*, rather than a debate over the anarcho-libertarian “all government inherently sucks” position. Indeed, the continental model sucks on other dimensions, such as respect for private property rights and minority interests†, which might be more important to citizens in the Anglo-American tradition than efficiency or speed. Megan adds that we might potentially also blame government accounting methods, which sometimes fails to internalize costs properly.

* I don’t think the usual political science antonym for “pluralism,” “corporatism,” really works here; this is more a contrast between the pluralist, politically-egalitarian Anglo-American model and the elite, expert-dependent (Napoleonic/Confucian) continental model of bureaucratic decision making.
† In the Madisonian, not racial, sense.