2 comments

  1. “Supporting the market mechanism simply entails believing that there is no other alternative available which won’t produce worse social outcomes (however measured).”

    It can also, of course, reflect a judgment based on the shortcomings of the contemporary regulatory apparatus. For instance, I would support much more robust just-wage laws, if those laws could distinguish between, e.g., heads of households and college kids living rent-free in their parents’ homes. I’ve never seen a modern minimum-wage law in the U.S. that attempted to do so, however, and I am fairly certain that contemporary equal-protection and anti-discrimination law would prevent the state from enacting such laws. (This is despite the fact that the distinction should be common sense and would, one would think, garner broad support, since “many low-wage earners are kids working seasonal jobs” is a nearly ubiquitous objection to raising the minimum wage.)

    So the “best available” consideration is both conceptual and jurisprudential: there are theoretical realities that aren’t realizable because of the way markets work in practice, and there are practical ideas that aren’t legislatable in practice because of existing legal constraints.

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