Sunday, October 26, 2008

Two Dissonances Don't Make a Cognition

A friend happened to link me to a Megan McArdle post on how the economic crisis might mean trouble for New York City. It's a mess of course, but in sort of an interesting way.

First, there is the cognitive dissonance implicit in the assertion that "the City and State of New York are remarkably business-unfriendly places." I don't know if you could find a more perfect example of the doctrinaire libertarian observing that reality and dogma are in conflict, and deciding that reality has gotten it wrong. I have absolutely no doubt that New York does indeed "usually end up ranked at the very bottom of the league tables in terms of the ease of doing business there": at the top are certainly Antarctica and the Moon.

Combine that with the current financial meltdown, the demonstration of corporate deregulation run amok so perfect that no capitalism skeptic could have invented it in their wildest fantasies. It goes without saying that no sounder rebuke to vulgar libertarianism has occurred in McArdle's lifetime. And yet, it is this very same economic disaster that McArdle muses might finally cause the scales to fall from the eyes of all those misguided New York businesses who were so foolish as to choose the business-hostile isle of Manhattan in which to thrive.

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