Tonight I talked with the economist Deirdre McCloskey about the bourgeoisie, governments, love, prudence, avarice and God. (And a bit about Mandeville.)
Deirdre is a lovely and witty woman; I don’t share her opinions of the US Postal service and Amtrak, they are both better than Deirdre believes they are, but nevertheless I would love to be adopted by her.
I share her distrust of government completely, but it’s evident that sometimes we need government. So the big question is: when exactly do we need government? And how can we make government more effective in all those cases that we cannot avoid it? McCloskey wasn’t even sure that we need government to regulate banks, or to be more precisely she wasn’t convinced that government would be better at regulating banks than other regulators.
(See also here.)