Outsourcing competence

By Matt Nolan 05/10/2012

So it seems that Stuff has decided that now it’s outsourcing its journalism to the public, it might as well try to do it with other people’s discipines as well – that combined with not knowing what economics is has led to the question “how do we fix the economy;)

The first solution has been released, and in true communist/NZ Inc style thought the solutions boil down to saying people shouldn’t be allowed the things they actually want and picking winners.

Now to be honest I do not blame the author of the piece – he was doing exactly what was asked of him, to frame the economy in the way he wanted it to be.  To “fix” the ways that the economy wasn’t doing what he values.

But that isn’t the way social groups should work.  We aren’t a dictatorship, we shouldn’t have a body of “enlightened individuals” telling us how and what to consume.  The fact is if households are willing to sacrifice other opportunities and income to live the “kiwi dream” they should be allowed to.

Goals such as “catching Australia”, being “more productive”, battling perceived “inequalities” of somethings – these are arbitrary goals that do not express the trade-offs we face as a set of people.  The real goal should be to create an environment where the individuals in society can make the best use of the scarce set of resources we have at our disposal, in order to satisfy their preferences.

New Zealand is not a machine, its a community of individuals – an economy isn’t something to be “fixed” it is a combination of institutions, relationships, and people … and any “issue” has to do with concerns about these relationships, not overarching goals to pick winners or tell people what to consume because, in our arrogance, we think we are smarter than they are.

Update:  So after having a computer scientist say we should give up the kiwi dream and focus on IT in the first article, now we have someone involved in commercial and residential property saying we should cut interest rates and accept house price inflation to fix the economy.  Even as an economist, I find the level of blatant self interest surprising – and relatively humorous :) .  Maybe I should write one in saying we need more economic research into the economy by economic consultants, so we can make more informed decisions and transfer resources to me … I mean and make the right decisions.