Saturday, June 05, 2004


Weekends are devoted to completing my manuscript "Whole Lives: The Creation of Conscious Culture Through Educational Innovation." Blog back on Monday.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Making the Human World More Real

One of my favorite parables is Flatland, in which a two dimensional-being who learns of the third dimension is ostracized and made to feel as if he is crazy for speaking of a third dimension. It is a helpful reminder of the limits to our vision, and how those who see only two dimensions will consider someone who sees three to be insane.

Most intelligent, responsible, educated people more or less believe in our existing social and political arrangements. They believe that there are smart people at Harvard and Stanford and elsewhere who study these things and that the latest, cutting-edge theories for how to improve society are well represented by the academic leaders. They may know personally a top clinician at Johns Hopkins, or a great teacher in Evanston, or they may follow the latest ideas in Harper's or The New Yorker.

There may be a general sense that conservative Neanderthals are harming the country, embarrassing us internationally by foreign aggression and dishonesty, undermining us domestically through crony capitalism, destroying the environment, and pandering to the religious right. The hope remains, among the educated elites, that once John Kerry (or Hilary Clinton) has been elected, and Democrats once again control Congress, that the top clinicians at Johns Hopkins and the great teachers in Evanston can continue their intelligent, responsible approaches to solving social problems.

Because I want to be liked, I would very much like to be able to believe in the good NPR Democrat vision of the world. I feel no affinity for Bush Republicanism; given that I'm not for Bush, my life would be so much easier if I were for "the good guys," the Democrats, the intellectuals, the professional classes.

Worse yet, the notion that "there is too much regulation" or that we should "eliminate credentials and licenses" sounds, frankly, whacko to most people, including the most respected and responsible voices in our society. It would be very helpful to me if I were capable of believing in the existing system.

But no matter how hard I try, I can't believe in the social and political world that has been created. I feel very much like the poor Flatlander who has been exposed to the third dimension: Yes, it seems crazy to believe in a third dimension, and yes, it is difficult to explain the third dimension to people who have only experienced two dimensions. Nonetheless, those facts do not change my belief in the third dimension.

At bottom, the problem is pervasive crap. Yes, I know we are supposed to respect those people at Harvard and Johns Hopkins who believe in the crap. I just can't.

In the former Soviet Union, the joke used to be "we pretend to work, and they pretend to pay us."

In education today, for a large percentage of high school students, a similar joke could be made, "we pretend to learn, and they pretend to teach us." This is crap.

Bill Cosby's recent remarks on the African-American underclass were a refreshing break from crap.

I hate the mean-spiritedness of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter. But the reason that they have such large and enthusiastic audiences is because, despite the fact that sometimes they make ridiculous exaggerations and rude or mean-spirited remarks, on many key issues they cut through the crap. The politically correct, overly sensitive, self-imposed world-view of universities today has led many of the respected voices in academia mostly to speak in terms of crap. If decent, conscientious human beings like Bill Cosby won't be honest (and thank heaven that he chose to be honest), then demagogues like Limbaugh and Coulter will be.

In order to make the world a better place, people need to be more direct with each other and we need a culture that supports greater honesty. Lazy, rude, incompetent people are not going to get good jobs and should not get good jobs. People with terrible habits with respect to eating, exercise, substance abuse, and choices of sexual encounters are not going to have good health and we shouldn't spend inordinate amounts of money compensating for their self-destructiveness. Young people who ridicule learning, who don't respect teachers, who don't study or pay attention in classes, are not going to get an education and shouldn't be allowed to destroy education for others.

Young people love honor and courage. The medieval splendor of "The Lord of the Rings" is appealing to them. They love brave, audacious heroes, people who are not afraid to "tell it like it is." Thus Eminem is widely respected by the young. Although young people would love to admire an Aragon, leader of men in Lord of the Rings, if they can't have an Aragon they would rather have a freakish-but-honest Howard Stern than a full-of-crap Jesse Jackson.

We have created a world that is substantially dishonest. Young people escape into drugs, sex, fantasy, music, and violence instead of striving for excellence with respect to health, education, honor, and idealism.

Not all young people, of course. The children of the elites are most likely to go to good private or suburban public schools, where, with the advantages of a lifetime of parental attention and private lessons, they are more likely to excel in athletics, academics, and a social life the entry to which requires costly cars and clothes. These winners within the system, the children of the professors, diplomats, doctors, and lawyers, seem to validate the system as a whole to the elites. If only Bush would give the poor more money, then everyone could succeed the way that my child succeeds!

Bill Cosby took a great personal risk by being honest. The establishment rewards conformism to the mainstream message and penalizes those who do not conform to the message. Cosby violated the accepted boundaries of decent political discourse. It is a testimony to his personal credibility and undisputed decency that he was able to do so. There will nonetheless be a backlash against him for having done so.

We have very few opinion leaders in any fields that are willing to be honest. The best way to mute the Limbaughs and Coulters is not to launch a Left-liberal radio station with Al Franken – unless Franken is ready to cut through the crap on the Left as seriously as he is willing to cut through the crap on the Right. The best way to mute the Limbaughs and Coulters is for more national opinion leaders to have the courage of Cosby.

Be honest, be real, and then we can begin to solve our problems.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Creation vs. Conflict

I recently ran across a survey that claimed that 80% of college graduates want work that is "meaningful" when they graduate. As a school administrator, I frequently receive resumes from people in their 40s and 50s who have "retired" from the worlds of business, law, technology, or banking and now want to have a second, more meaningful, career.

As incomes continue to rise, an increasing percentage of our population will have the option of spending an increasing percentage of their work career engaged in employment for which meaning, rather than pecuniary gain, is the primary rationale for their choice of work.

Often college graduates are attracted to "activism" as a meaningful career. Although there is certainly a role for activism, often activism treats symptoms rather than causes. The ultimate cause of poverty is that people don't have adequate marketable skills and sufficiently professional job habits. Until and unless poor people develop the marketable skills and professional job habits required, they will remain poor.

The position of office manager in a school is key: The person who runs the office ensures that all the systems runs smoothly, that parents get the information that they want, that teachers are properly supported, etc. In Palo Alto during the dot com boom, our school couldn't find an adequate office manager for $40,000. Tech companies were paying similar people $50-80K and we couldn't offer a similar salary. This position does not need a college degree, or even a high school diploma. A person simply needs to be smart, organized, responsible, and with good people skills. "Training" programs do not supply these pre-requisites. Basic computer knowledge is also useful, but basic computer knowledge can be taught very quickly to the right person.

While I love education, most education is a ridiculous waste of time. If someone simply wants to earn a living, were it not for government-mandated credentials, there would be numerous career paths for bright people with (or without) a high school diploma. Often sales people earn more than $50K, in many cases over $100K. These positions require no education: just excellent persuasion skills and verbal style that matches the social class to which one is selling. Rather than a worthless high school diploma and a worthless four year degree, bright young people could be taught to speak in a particular manner and make great incomes selling. At no point in our education system is this option recognized.

One of the marvelously democratic aspects of the early tech boom is that no credentials were required. As a consequence, many high school and college drop outs became programming professionals. The last tech expert that I hired was a high school drop out who had been making more than 100K working for Sun Microsystems.

What if activists, instead of fighting zero-sum battles on behalf of the poor, fought battles that resulted in endless opportunities? Credentialism limits access to, and increases the cost of, education and health care. Yes, activists can fight to obtain more funding for education and health care for the poor. They may or may not win. If they win, they may deepen resentment from other taxpayers. They will not have made much of a difference in terms of why the poor are poor. And because they will not have resolved the root causes of poverty, they will feel a need to keep fighting. War is costly, and so are political battles.

The idealism that motivates activists could be re-directed towards creating a society based on creation rather than conflict. What if we were to create lower cost, and ultimately much higher quality, health care options by means of eliminating most (or all) government regulations concerning health care? What if we were to create lower cost, and ultimately much higher quality, education options by means of elimination most (or all) government regulations concerning education? The same applies to housing and community creation.

Looked at from this perspective, a horrifying conspiracy exists to keep education and health care expensive, hard to obtain, and not appropriately designed for the needs of the people. This conspiracy is led by some of the nicest, most conscientious people, including professors at our best universities. Nonetheless, the result is the same: limit quality and access, and raise cost, for those things that are most important to human well-being.

If it were legal to do so, and if there were visionary entrepreneurs who helped to make it happen, the millions of young people who long for meaningful careers, the millions of older people who are ready to retire into meaningful careers, could flood into the fields of health, education, housing, and community and reduce poverty more than any government program possibly can.

"Let us do it" is the true meaning of "laissez-faire." We want to do it, we can afford to do it. We need visionary leaders and we need freedom. Given these pre-requisites creative idealists can begin to improve life for rich and poor alike.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Creating a Better World

Most readers, on both the Left and Right, are likely to be shocked that I could be outraged by the fact of regulation. The need for government regulation seems to be profoundly and widely accepted across the political spectrum. A suggestion that there be less regulation seems to signal a failure, on my part, to take certain issues seriously.

What such a perspective fails to understand is that there are legitimate alternative to regulation and that a strong case may be made that those alternatives would result in a better, happier, cleaner, healthier society than is possible by means of a regulatory society.

Politics is war by other means. Political solutions often sustain conflicts and attitudes of mutual hostility. It is hard to envision a better world based on endless conflict. Our approach to solving social and environmental problems ought to be to reduce conflict, rather than to increase it.

Pollution trading rights are an effective alternative to regulation for the control of pollution. Pollution trading rights passed in 1990 were described as "one of the most successful programs that Congress has ever put together in the environmental area" by a senior attorney from the Environmental Defense Fund. Although there will be conflict, sometimes bitter conflict, over the initial level at which pollution trading rights are set, once the rights have been set up the result is a system that encourages corporations to invest in creative technologies that constantly reduce pollution. There are better and worse ways to set up such systems; I would not claim that all pollution trading systems are equal. That said, a well-designed pollution trading right system reduces pollution more effectively, with less conflict, than do regulations. Idealists need to educate themselves on strategies like these that will allow for endless positive gains instead of endless battles.

Creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship have improved human life far more than anyone has ever thought possible. Life five hundred years ago in Europe was similar to life in the third world today: poverty, disease, pain, and misery were the day-to-day norm for most people. Creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship have utterly transformed everyday life for millions of people in the first world. With wisely designed institutions, all remaining social, health, and environmental problems may be solved by the same powerful formula. What people don't realize is that institutional frameworks determine which problems are amenable to creative, entrepreneurial solutions - and which are not.

"If it can't be abused, it's not freedom." The freedom to create implies the freedom to destroy. It is frightening. People will be hurt. But the net gains are dramatic. As an educator, I can create schools that will ameliorate social problems and poverty to a significant extent. But in order to do this, I would need radical educational freedoms that would, necessarily, result in crazy, whacko schools as well as mine.

Advocates of regulation are especially horrified at the notion that the drug industry would be unregulated. They envision a nightmarish world in which greedy corporations spawn a new generation of thalidomide babies. Meanwhile, the FDA has delayed or blocked drugs and devices that could save the lives of heart attack victims. Because of the FDA, between 20,000 and 40,000 people have died unnecessarily because they did not have access to medical treatments that are widely accepted in Europe. Unlike AIDS activists, who aggressively pushed the FDA to approve life-saving drugs more rapidly than usual, these heart attack victims were dispersed and often were not aware of their risk, thus preventing them from lobbying the FDA to save their lives.

Any evaluation of the value of regulation has to include not only the harms that have been prevented, but also the goods that have been prevented. Both quantities are difficult to estimate. But an overall opinion concerning regulation that does not consider both the gains and losses due to regulation is not an well-considered opinion. When, in a recent issue, Scientific American argued for the regulatory state, they failed to include the costs of regulation. 20,000 - 40,000 deaths is an enormous cost to ignore, and it is but one among many.

Upper class people spend large sums of money to go mountain climbing, which has a higher death rate than almost any activity or substance from which we receive government protection. Our entire approach to risk is highly paternalistic: Educated elites seem to believe that the kinds of high risk activities that they pursue are legitimate somehow, whereas allowing the poor to expose themselves to much lower risks is considered to be immoral.

When my charter school is damaged by regulation, or when fathers in their prime die becaue they are not allowed access to medical treatment, the harms, while relatively invisible to the public, are still available to us at the level of anecdote and statistic. Innovations that have not occurred due to regulations are completely invisible. There is reason to believe that the stillbirth of such innovations, invisible though they may be, is much, much greater than the subtle harms described above.

Auctioneers in France must be licensed. As a consequence, Ebay was initially not allowed to operate in France. Had a similar law existing in the U.S., Ebay would not exist at all. After starting out as sort of global garage sale, Ebay has become a major force in business-to-business commerce as well. Ebay has saved millions of people millions of dollars; it has allowed many thousands of people to create businesses from their homes; it is one of the most democratic marketing mechanisms on earth. Who would have imagined that a small law requiring that auctioneers be licensed would prevent a major force for global market democracy from coming into being? Even the most imaginative of us lack the imagination to envision the ways in which regulations harm us.

In order to create a better world, we need to find ways in which health, wellness, community, happiness, spirituality, transcendent experiences, and other wonderful things may be more effectively made available to more human beings. The elimination of regulations, licensing, and other obstacles is essential in order for us to find creative solutions to life's problems.

Thus my outrage at the existence of regulations is not because I am blind to social problems; it is because the regulations inadvertently prevent wonderful solutions to social problems from coming into existence.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Regulatory Predictions

Public choice economists, those who study governments, would claim that it is possible to predict that regulatory agencies in government will be "captured" by the industries that they regulate.

Meanwhile, most people are outraged at the notion that regulators are cozy with the industries that they regulate. According to the public service notion of government, conscientious individuals who accept positions in regulatory agencies are there to serve the public good. It is a matter of personal integrity not to be corrupted by the corporations that they regulate. Thus the moral outrage when regulators are corrupted by the corporations that they regulate.

From the perspective of the Left, such outrage is evidence of human decency (much as, from the perspective of the Right, outrage over sexual misconduct, such as adultery, is evidence of human decency). From the perspective of public choice economics, Leftist outrage over regulatory capture is evidence of naïveté, not of human decency (there are likewise economists who would regard outrage over sexual misconduct as a matter of naïveté on the Right).

We evolved in small tribes in which feelings of moral outrage served a useful purpose. In a small tribal environment, those who did not conform to the moral dicta of the tribe were sanctioned communally, often by means of tribal feelings of moral outrage. In such a context, social feeling was itself the primary form of legislation and enforcement.

It is a serious problem of modernity when, where, and why to feel moral outrage. We do not want, and should not want, to extinguish our moral feelings. And yet the situations described above should encourage us to become somewhat thoughtful concerning when and where outrage is a useful feeling. It feelings of outrage no longer serve an effective enforcement purpose, but merely result in personal frustration, then perhaps we ought to learn to temper or redirect them.

In the case of regulatory capture, part of the reason that economists regard regulatory capture as a predictable behavior is due to the asymmetry of interest and knowledge. Industries that are regulated typically have intense incentives and extensive information regarding the issues on which they are being regulated. Ordinary citizens, and even the politicians elected to represent them, typically have very weak incentives and very little information concerning the relevant issues. Often regulation becomes highly technical: how can an ordinary person possibly keep up?

Moreover, the difference between sincere, well-intentioned public servants and corrupt regulatory officials is not as large as is generally imagined. Because regulatory issues are often technical, usually even conscientious regulatory officials represent the existing opinion regarding "best practices" in each industry. But upholding the existing opinion regarding "best practices" in each industry is almost identical to maintaining the self-interest of the more responsible portion of the status quo. Thus, simply due to ordinary circumstances, regulators almost always stifle innovation (This is certainly the case in education; again, endless specific instances are available on request).

Thus I am outraged by the fact of regulation, not by corruption in regulation. From my perspective, conscientious regulation is often almost as bad as corrupt regulation. In practice, relatively few regulators are openly corrupt. It is much more common for regulators to have similar attitudes, interests, and professional standards as the regulatees. The best regulators do come from industry and then receive jobs in industry when they leave their positions. In many particular cases, the moral status is very blurry. Most people believe themselves to be good people. When they are surrounded by like-minded people who reinforce their views, it becomes even easier to believe this. Soon "the public interest" and the views one happens to hold naturally coincide.

I know several of the good people in the State Department of Education who have harmed excellent charter schools, my own included. They are good people, doing what they believe to be right to the best of their ability. And, like many other regulators, they are destroying innovation and good education.

They can't help it. That is what they are paid to do: uphold current best practices.

Monday, May 31, 2004

Creating a New Perspective

Human beings, including academics, journalists, and political commentators, are incredibly tribal animals. Most individual political perspectives are strongly influenced by the tribalisms of the Left or Right.

I began studying economics as an idealistic Leftist. As I became convinced of the power of economic arguments, I did not lose any of my idealism: I just realized that Leftist strategies for improving the world were simply not very well considered. At the same time, as I became more interested intellectually in economic analysis, I found that most of the perspectives that I studied included a certain "there ain't no free lunch" cynicism. I have found it difficult, in relative isolation, for my thoughts not to be distorted either by the mindless idealism of the Left or by the intelligent cynicism of market advocates. Flow is an attempt to create a community of intellectually sophisticated and intellectually honest idealists that can transcend the magnetic pull of these opposing forces.

Given the fact that "intellectual" was nearly synonmous with "Leftist" for much of the 20th century, it may seem odd or biased from a left-liberal perspective for me to claim that Leftist strategies for improving the world were not very well considered. For those on the other side, the fact of 100 million Marxist murders alone is shocking and horrifying proof that Leftist strategies for improving the world were not very well considered.

Sociobiology provides compelling arguments that a sophisticated capacity for self-deception was genetically useful in the competition for genetic replication. In order to be a realistic idealist, or a realistic visionary, one must take complete cognizance of the depth and pervasiveness of human self-interest and self-deception.

Young people, eager to believe themselves good, and eager to position themselves as morally superior to their elder tribesmen, are thus vulnerable to shallow idealisms. Academics and intellectuals, many of whom spend their lives surrounded primarily by young people, often occupy a social status niche in which they maximize their psychic well-being, at the cost of intellectual integrity, by claiming moral superiority to the rest of society by means of their Leftist politics. There are even sociologists who conduct formal research studies to determine what social and psychic pathologies cause conservative beliefs: surely a healthy, sane, decent human being would share their Leftist political beliefs?

There is pressure from decent, well-intentioned left-liberals to leave the communist murders behind. None of them advocated such murderous regimes and they consider arguments that they were somehow complicit in these murders to be spurious and in poor taste.

Spiritual and emotional maturity has to do with taking responsibility for one's actions. When I was in college in the 1980s, communist enthusiasm among university faculty was common. To a remarkable degree, it still is. Noam Chomsky, the Pol Pot apologist, is still a hero among the Left.

In the eighteenth century, classical liberals developed a sophisticated body of political analysis showing the necessity and the means of limiting political authority. The American founding institutionalized many of these insights. The French Revolution served as horrifying proof of the need for such constraints on power. After the 1790s, anyone who blithely talked about a "dictatorship of the proletariat," as did Marx and his followers, is complicit in murder. Others, who endorse the ideas of such advocates of murder, are also complicit. Che Guevara whole-heartedly endorsed mass murder.

Idealism has been discredited by the 100 million communist murders. In order to create a legitimate idealism, we must purify ourselves by acknowledging wholeheartedly the crimes of idealisms of the past. Until the fellow travellers and communist apologists come clean, the cause of idealism will be discredited as morally corrupt and suspect.

There was a specific intellectual failure: well-educated people, who should have been adequately educated in classical liberal political theory, nonetheless were enthusiastic supporters of those who advocated a "dictatorship of the proletariat." The fact that these nice intellectuals may have envisioned a benign, romantic, idealistic "dictatorship of the proletariat," with lots of comradely poetry and art, is no excuse. Drunk drivers who kill people are often just nice kids out having fun while drinking a few beers in the car. Good intentions do not absolve people of responsibility while driving drunk nor while intoxicated with political ideals.

When an alcoholic becomes committed to serious recovery through AA, one of their first duties is to apologize to every individual who may have been harmed by them while they were drinking. This step of taking responsibility for past actions is rightly considered to be a crucial stage in healing, spiritual growth, and emotional maturity.

In order to create a spiritually clean idealism, it is crucial that the moral contamination of Leftist intellectuals has been fully acknowledged. One cannot build on crumbled foundations.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Introduction to Flow

The purpose of Flow is to create a dialogue community that combines two contrary trends in existing social/political discourse:

1. The progressive, humanist desire to make the world a better place by means of conscious effort.

2. The increasing recognition that market solutions to social problems are more effective than are command-and-control government strategies.

Hitherto, for the most part, advocates of the first position have identified themselves as "Left" and they have pushed for government legislation to fight "capitalism." For the most part those who have advocated the second position have identified themselves as "Right" and have been considered "conservative" rather than progressive.

As an inveterate do-gooder, I am constantly horrified that the Left continues to advocate policy measures that will increase poverty and human misery while failing to advocate measures that would significantly enhance human well-being.

I am an educator who has created public school programs and private and charter schools from scratch. For me, school choice is not an academic issue. Given adequate freedom from government control, I can create schools that are significantly more humane and intellectual than are standard government schools. (Those interested in creating better private or charter schools should email me,, and we can get to work immediately on designing a great school in your area). It disgusts me that "progressive" advocates of public education continue to undermine the development of new and better ways to educate young people. Advocates of social mobility, human potential, intellectual ability, independent thought, spiritual awareness, creativity and innovation, and most other valuable human traits need to band together to destroy our public school monopoly. Microsoft has a smaller market share and less control than does the government school system. Those who hate Microsoft's influence in the software industry should hate government schools ten times as much: the stakes are much higher, the constraints on innovation are vastly larger, the extent of monopolistic control is incaluculably tighter.

Consider other sectors of the economy: In the 1970s health food stores were tiny, hippy places that were only open occasionally and forced us to eat carob instead of chocolate. If Safeway and Albertsons had had a government-enforced monopoly in the 1970s, Whole Foods and Wild Oats would not exist and Safeway and Albertsons would not carry health foods. If Crown Books and Waldenbooks had had government protection at the time, then Barnes & Noble, Borders, and would not exist. If IBM and DEC had had government protection, the entire microcomputer industry, the consumer software industry, and the internet as we know it would not exist. If Keds had been controlled by the government, there would be no Nike or Adidas. And on and on. As an innovative educator, my projects are constantly attacked and destroyed by the government education monopoly - endless specific anecdotes are available on request (Or request my manuscript Whole Lives: The Creation of Conscious Culture Through Educational Innovation.)

A few more conventional examples from the globalization issue:

1. Global Trade: Although certainly the WTO is no model of social justice, the fact that the WTO is imperfect is not a justification for fighting globalization. Oxfam, hardly a right-wing organization, recognizes that increasing international trade is the _only_ way that global poverty will be reduced. We can, and should, be concerned regarding the rules for international trade. In particular, Oxfam cites the $1 billion per day in agricultural subsidies in the wealthy nations that greatly reduces income in poor nations. Glaring injustices such as this are cause for pushing for more freedom in global markets, not less. The fact that Jose Bove, the French agricultural protectionist, is celebrated as a hero by the Left, strikes me as surreal.

2. Immigration: Increased immigration should be one of the top agenda items for Leftist do-gooders. By means of remittences, education, contacts, and familiarity with first-world social and legal institutions and customs, immigration is probably the single most effective means of transferring wealth from the first world to the third world. The $30 billion in remittances that U.S. immigrants sent home last year is a very small fraction of the total value of these cross-cultural exchanges. The creation of a thriving software industry in India is due to the know-how and contacts that Indian software engineers and entrepreneurs acquired in Silicon Valley and then transferred back home in hundreds of ways, formal and informal. Those who are concerned about global population growth should note that immigrant families who move to the first world typically have much smaller families than they did in their home countries.

3. Out-sourcing: Why should a U.S. software engineer make $80 an hour if an Indian software engineer will do similar work for $5 an hour? The wealthy industrialized nations provide relatively high incomes for their citizens in part by excluding competition from the billions of needier human beings on earth. Do-gooders should celebrate the transfer of jobs to the third world.

4. Economic Freedom: The Economic Freedom of the World index, published by the Fraser Institute, rates countries around the world on their economic freedoms, including trade issues, but also banking laws, the free flow of capital, etc. There is a high correlation between those nations highly ranked on this index and most of the those features of society desired by the Left: health, education, welfare of the poor, etc. Finland, often regarded as a "socialist" paradise, is the top-ranked nation outside the Anglo-American leaders (including former British colonies Singapore and Hong Kong as Anglo-American). In general, Scandinavian "socialist" nations might better be described as wisely capitalist nations with extensive social welfare benefits. They tend to have low corporate tax rates and significant freedoms with respect to the flow of capital. Leftist rhetoric, if followed, would destroy Scandivian "socialism." Leftist rhetoric, as followed, creates poverty in the third world. If third-world nations allowed their citizens the same economic freedoms as Finland, they would all experience a dramatic increase in their standard of living.

It trouble me that most advocates of markets do not adequately advocate for the amelioration of social problems and for the reduction of injustices in global markets. At the same time, Leftist attacks on market mechanisms cause much greater poverty and injustice than do the greediest capitalists on earth. We need to develop a coalition of individuals and organizations who seek to improve the world and who recognize that, often, market mechanisms are the best means of doing so.