Public Values

The free-market state as predator

Suddenly planning, standards, regulation and progressive taxes don't seem so bad.

Author James K. Galbraithby James Galbraith, The Progressive Economics Forum

Years ago, I realized that the free-market, supply-side crowd, true conservatives who'd ridden high with Reagan, dislike Bush as much as I do. I speak of the hard money, low-tax, Wall Street Journal, deregulate-and-privatize team, the nemeses of my youth, people like Bruce Bartlett, Paul Craig Roberts, the late Jude Wanniski. Suddenly, we were on the same side. Had I gone crazy or had they gone sane?

Whether it was right or wrong, "Reaganomics" had a logic. Each policy would aim at one problem. Tight money would cure inflation. Low taxes would stimulate saving and work effort. Small government would "crowd in" investment. Free trade would make us efficient. Smart people believed this and they had the authority of respected economists like Milton Friedman and Friedrich von Hayek to back them up.

But now those ideas are dead, buried, abandoned. Deregulation brought us miseries in finance, transport, energy and the climate. Free trade agreements dole out favors to big farmers and big pharma. The financial crisis finished off what was left of monetarism, the idea that the Fed should only worry about inflation. And everyone has given up on waiting for low taxes to unleash the creativity of the ultra rich. . .

James K. Galbraith is a progressive American economist who writes frequently for mainstream and liberal publications on economic topics.

Links and sources
  Galbraith's Predator State, by James Galbraith, The Progressive Economics Forum, August 8, 2008

Posted: August 14, 2008

  Public services
  Voices of privatization
  Feedback and dialogue

Public Values ( is a project of the Golden Lake Institute and the online publication

Public Values
Donate to
Health care
Public services
Natural resources
Front lines
Voices of privatization
Feedback and dialogue
About Us
What is framing?
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Updated frequently
To view photo captions, run your mouse over the photo
Bookmark and Share

© Golden Lake Institute/, 2007-11 owns copyright on all staff-written articles.
We encourage others to freely distribute material from this website but, without explicit permission,
Web publishers may only use short excerpts that also include credit to us and a reference to our site for the full article.
This site is managed by the Golden Lake InstituteVisit Golden Lake Institute Website and Straight Goods NewsVisit Straight Goods News Website
For comments or suggestions, please contact the Editor
For technical issues, please contact the Webmaster