Harvard Economist Jeff Miron takes on three myths about capitalism

August 23, 2011 4:10 PM

Here is an interesting video of Jeffrey Miron, Director of Undergraduate Studies at the Harvard university Economics Department, talking about capitalism.  He answers three questions: Is being pro-business and pro-capitalism the same? Does capitalism generate an unfair distribution of income? Was capitalism responsible for the most recent financial crisis?

We have produced a number of reports about businesses making significant amounts out of the regulations, taxes and subsidies imposed by politicians - with taxpayers paying the price.  There are major capital projects which run way over their budgets; Regional Development Agencies we've exposed handing out grants to a favoured few at everyone else's expense; and lots of windfall profits for special interests in the energy sector covered in Let them eat carbon.

Taxes hit the poor just as hard as the rich.  Particularly consumption taxes like VAT and 'sin taxes' like the duty on cigarettes and regulations increasing electricity bills.  We need to resist these kinds of often self-righteous policies hitting the budgets of the hardest pressed families and keep increasing the threshold for income tax.

Finally, for more on the financial crisis see a research note that I wrote with Dalibor Rohac, at the Legatum Institute.  Whatever the mistakes of individual financiers, you just can't understand the crisis properly without looking to the role of bad policy.

Jeff Miron is right to challenge these popular misconceptions.  Defending free markets doesn't mean standing up for big business without question, or backing wealthy crony capitalists against the poor consumers paying the price for their dodgy profits.  It means ensuring that politicians don't get in the way of people being rewarded when they work hard and innovate to better provide new, better or cheaper goods and services for willing customers spending their own money.  It is the ordinary consumer and taxpayer who has the biggest interest in genuine free markets.Here is an interesting video of Jeffrey Miron, Director of Undergraduate Studies at the Harvard university Economics Department, talking about capitalism.  He answers three questions: Is being pro-business and pro-capitalism the same? Does capitalism generate an unfair distribution of income? Was capitalism responsible for the most recent financial crisis?

We have produced a number of reports about businesses making significant amounts out of the regulations, taxes and subsidies imposed by politicians - with taxpayers paying the price.  There are major capital projects which run way over their budgets; Regional Development Agencies we've exposed handing out grants to a favoured few at everyone else's expense; and lots of windfall profits for special interests in the energy sector covered in Let them eat carbon.

Taxes hit the poor just as hard as the rich.  Particularly consumption taxes like VAT and 'sin taxes' like the duty on cigarettes and regulations increasing electricity bills.  We need to resist these kinds of often self-righteous policies hitting the budgets of the hardest pressed families and keep increasing the threshold for income tax.

Finally, for more on the financial crisis see a research note that I wrote with Dalibor Rohac, at the Legatum Institute.  Whatever the mistakes of individual financiers, you just can't understand the crisis properly without looking to the role of bad policy.

Jeff Miron is right to challenge these popular misconceptions.  Defending free markets doesn't mean standing up for big business without question, or backing wealthy crony capitalists against the poor consumers paying the price for their dodgy profits.  It means ensuring that politicians don't get in the way of people being rewarded when they work hard and innovate to better provide new, better or cheaper goods and services for willing customers spending their own money.  It is the ordinary consumer and taxpayer who has the biggest interest in genuine free markets.

Latest Blogs:

TaxPayers' Alliance Icon

Aid spending needs to be more transparent

4:55 PM 08, Dec 2016 Harry Fairhead

TaxPayers' Alliance Icon

The sugar tax and the public finances

6:00 AM 05, Dec 2016 Harry Fairhead

TaxPayers' Alliance Icon

Working for the taxman

6:00 AM 26, Nov 2016 Harry Fairhead

TaxPayers' Alliance Icon

Further thoughts on the Autumn Statement

4:56 PM 24, Nov 2016 James Price