‘Free’ markets and ‘fairness’

There’s a new good book by John Tomasi, an even better review by Deirdre McCloskey, and a so-so-reply.

Methinks the point can be (perhaps overly) simplified to a Schumpeterian one:  A ‘free’ market is one that incites innovation, and ‘fairness’ comes out at the back end as an unintended consequence, though not in the sense set up by Adam Smith and taught in economics.

Perhaps there’s another point too.  ‘Fairness’ can be divorced from efficiency, but efficiency can be helped by understanding the public-vs.-private goods distinction, and the role of institutions (market vs. non-market) in this regard.


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