O Intermitente<br> (So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye)

O Intermitente
(So long, farewell, auf weidersehen, good-bye)

terça-feira, outubro 28, 2003

Hayek Vs. Stiglitz

Arnold Kling analisa o debate que ocorre entre defensores da solução competitiva (hayekiana) e da intervencionismo estatal (stiglitzianos) no mercado da banda larga nos EUA.

The FCC [Federal Communications Comission - o equivalente à ANACOM] oversees industries in which competition is messy. Broadcasting and telecommunications do not resemble the economist's model of "perfect competition," in which there are no economies of scale or network effects or information asymmetries or dominant firms. In spite of all of these deviations from the ideal of perfect competition, Powell [presidente da FCC] favors reducing the weight of the hand of government.

By defending markets even when competition is messy, Powell is being Hayekian. Friedrich A. Hayek, awarded the Nobel Prize in economics in 1974, viewed Competition as a Discovery Procedure. He wrote, "market theory often prevents access to a true understanding of competition by proceeding from the assumption of a 'given' quantity of scarce goods. Which goods are scarce, however, or which things are goods, or how scarce or valuable they are, is precisely one of the conditions that competition should discover."

Powell's opponents are Stiglitzian. Joseph Stiglitz, awarded the Nobel Prize in 2001, wrote, "But information economics does not agree with Hayek's assertion that markets act efficiently. The fact that markets with imperfect information do not work perfectly provides a rationale for potential government actions."

Hayek would have the government tolerate messy competition. His point is that with the optimal outcome unknown, government resolution of issues shuts off the learning process that market competition provides.

Stiglitz sees the messiness in real-world economies, and he claims to have the right solution in every case. Even Berkeley economist Brad DeLong, who--like Stiglitz--served in the Clinton Administration, wrote that "I'm reading Joseph Stiglitz's brand-new Globalization and Its Discontents, and having trouble with it. It seems as though Stiglitz switches back and forth between different positions at blinding speed." Stiglitz's outlook is that markets are imperfect, but he is not. Where Marx offered dictatorship of the proletariat, Stiglitz would give us dictatorship of the Nobel Laureate. Between the two, we might be safer with Marx.

In Washington, the conventional wisdom is Stiglitzian. People do not run for office or seek appointments to high-level regulatory positions out of humility and respect for market processes. It is not surprising that the Beltway views Powell as at best eccentric and at worst a heretic


Congress thinks it knows the optimal fraction of the television market that can be owned by one media firm. Reed Hundt [antigo presidente da FCC] thinks he knows better than consumers themselves how much they want to pay for fiber to their homes. Michael Copps [outro dirigente da FCC] thinks he knows how to manage phone lines and how to allocate spectrum. Unlike his detractors, Michael Powell thinks that he knows less than the market. And in my view, that makes Michael Powell a man of rare and precious wisdom.

posted by Miguel Noronha 8:47 da manhã

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"A society that does not recognize that each individual has values of his own which he is entitled to follow can have no respect for the dignity of the individual and cannot really know freedom."

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