Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Tim Ferguson has a book review in today's Wall Street Journal of Paul London's The Competition Solution: The Bipartisan Secret Behind American Prosperity, a recent publication from the American Enterprise Institute Press. Mr. London was an economist in the Clinton administration from 1993 to 1997, and consequently his insights are portrayed, in Ferguson's review, as Democrats finally seeing the Republican light. I am a bit dismayed by attempts to to portray this Paul as on the road to free market Damascus (see the essay on the AEI website that provides an excerpt from the book). It is more than condescending to portray Democrats or other groups in the center or the left as somehow not getting the importance of markets. Just read Charles Lindbloom's work on markets and democracy for a taste not only of how liberals view the marketplace but also of how to think about markets in a constructive manner. Nonetheless, despite the lovefest of bipartisanship and the dancing around the laissez-faire maypole it attempts to stimulate, Mr. London's book seems to provide a worthwhile synthesis of the benefits of competition and the role of antitrust law and other regulations to promote it.