Monday, August 03, 2015

The case for second-best solutions

I agree... Some progress is better than none at all (Cato):

But again, it isn’t within Cato’s power to wave a magic wand and make free trade or marriage privatization happen. So our scholars usually opt for trying to move policy in a better direction. Center director Dan Ikenson writes, “Despite their flaws, free trade agreements have helped reduce domestic impediments to trade, expand our economic freedoms, and lock in positive reforms, even if only as the residual byproduct of an ill-premised mercantilist process. Ultimately, free trade agreements have delivered freer trade.” Not free trade, alas. But freer trade.

As I put it in a Facebook debate in June, “Best is best, but better is better than worse.” And that’s the standard that has mostly guided us at Cato for 38 years. We want to push public debate and public policy in a direction consistent with liberty and limited government. Sometimes, as in my book The Libertarian Mind and much of the material on, that entails laying out the case for libertarianism and strictly limited government. And sometimes, as in many of our policy studies, it involves offering politically realistic reform plans or second-best solutions.

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