Saturday, June 25, 2005

Economic equity and conservatism

If conservatism is at least tangentially concerned with justice and proportion, then conservatives might themselves have reasons to criticize laissez-faire economics and "big business." The shortcomings if not absurdities of a pure laissez-faire economy are fairly clearly indicated in the California housing market and development business; with their man Ahhnuld at the reins, the contractors and brokers of LA and the Bay Area are presently raking it in. Yet teachers, engineers, and technical people are not faring so well, at least in California--I will leave it to devoted readers of Contingencies to locate the stats. Laborers and construction guys earn 30 bucks an hour while quite a few people with master's degrees in math or comp. science or history work as tutors for half that much.

Should conservatives simply applaud as housing prices soar and a few contractors and realtors make it big and the state educational and technological infrastructure collapses? Privatization--and the real estate racket is in some sense the epitome of privatization--in and of itself is not just or equitable; and that may be one reason why those children of conservative parents, after moving from the 'burbs to Westwood or Palo Alto or Berkeley, often join with the liberals and socialists--they realize that it is unlikely they ever will be able to afford the $500,000+ villa in the hills of Hollywood or Saratoga. Joining up with the marxists would, I agree, be a mistake, but the impulse to introduce some reason and planning into the market economy--say in regards to employment and rational development-- is not entirely misguided.

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