Tag Archives: pro-market

An Important Distinction

Master of the Senate, the third volume of Robert Caro’s biography of Lyndon Johnson, opens with a lengthy history of the world’s greatest deliberative body from America’s founding up to Johnson’s time. On page 44, describing the end of a lengthy period of Senatorial stagnation in the early 20th century, Caro writes about how leadership deliberated:

The “Senate Four” or the “Big Four,” as they were known, still met in summer at Aldrich’s great castle in Narragansett, near Newport – four aging men in stiff high white collars and dark suits (Aldrich, being at home, might occasionally unbend to wear a blazer) even on the hottest days, sitting on a colonnaded porch in rockers and wicker chairs deciding Republican policy – a policy that was still based on an unshaken belief in laissez-faire and the protective tariff.

Caro is a masterful biographer and a fine writer, but he is sometimes a little confused on economics. Protective tariffs are government interventions in the market, and therefore the precise opposite of laissez-faire. Then, as now, Republican leaders were much more pro-business than pro-market. This is an important distinction to make. Failing to make it can lead to egregious — and avoidable — errors.

CEI Podcast for February 17, 2011: Let the Best Bulb Win

Have a listen here.

Brian McGraw, a Policy Analyst for CEI’s Center for Energy & Environment, talks about the coming incandescent light bulb ban, who it benefits (bulb manufacturers), and who it hurts (consumers who no longer have a choice). Brian also touches on the important distinction between pro-business and pro-market thought. Pro-business thinkers would tend to support an incandescent ban, given what it could do for bulb manufacturer’s bottom lines. Pro-market thinkers prefer an open, competitive market process where consumers decide which type of bulb is best, not lobbyists and politicians.