Fördelar marknader resurser effektivt?

In any case, market socialists concede that externalities lead to inefficient allocations of resources, and that non-competitive market structures and disequilibrating forces are additional sources of inefficiencies. And they concede that efficiency requires “socializing” the market with policies designed to internalize external effects, curb monopolistic practices, and ameliorate market disequilibria. But what market admirers do not concede, but conveniently ignore is:

  • External effects are the rule rather than the exception.
  • There are no convenient or reliable procedures in market economies for estimating the magnitude of external effects. This means accurate “Pigouvian” taxes are hard to calculate even in an isolated market.
  • Because they are unevenly dispersed throughout the industrial matrix, the task of correcting for external effects is even more daunting.
  • In the real world, where interest and power take precedence over economic efficiency, the beneficiaries of accurate Pigouvian taxes are usually dispersed and powerless compared to those who would be harmed. Moreover, any hope of accurately estimating the magnitudes of external effects lies with willingness to pay and willingness to accept damage surveys which have well known biases that can be challenged, and discrepancies that can be exploited by special interests.
  • Endogenous consumer preferences imply that the degree of misallocation that results from predictable under correction for external effects will increase, or “snowball” over time.

correctives are likely to fall far short of what is required, and the problem will grow worse. And since maneuvering over shares in a world that does not outlaw differences in economic power is usually the first strategy that occurs to most business people – even if it never occurs to economists – the waste of resources due to distributive struggles will be even more substantial.

In sum, convenient deals with mutual benefits for a buyer and seller should not be confused with economic efficiency. When some kinds of preferences are consistently under represented because of transaction cost and free rider problems, when some resources are consistently over exploited because they are common rather than private property, and when profits come as often from greater power as greater contribution, theory predicts free market exchange will result in a misallocation of resources. And when markets are less than perfect – which they always are – and fail to equilibrate instantaneously – which they always do – the results are that much worse.

Robin Hahnel



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