Right Hooks

Wednesday Opinion

May 24, 2017

Today’s Editors’ Choice

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Opinion in Brief

Walter Williams: “Free market allocation is conflict-reducing, whereas government allocation enhances the potential for conflict. But I’m all too afraid that most Americans want to be able to impose their preferences on others. Their vision doesn’t differ from one that says, ‘I don’t want my children to say morning prayers, and I’m going to force you to live by my preferences.’ The issue of prayers in school is just a minor example of people’s taste for tyranny. Think of the conflict that would arise if the government decreed that factories will produce either double-breasted or single-breasted suits or that there will be either Cadillacs or Mercedes-Benzes built or that there will be either Apple computers or PCs built. Can you imagine how otherwise-peaceable people would be forced into conflict with one another? Government allocation is mostly a zero-sum game, in which one person’s win necessarily means another person’s loss. The great ignored and overlooked feature of market allocation is that it is what game theorists call a positive-sum game. In positive-sum games, you get what you want, say an Apple computer, and I get what I want — a PC, in this case. My win does not come at your expense, and your win doesn’t come at my expense. And just as importantly, we can be friends.”

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