An Anonymous Coward writes:
The Guardian reports that "socialism" was the most looked-up word on Merriam-Webster's site this year, a change the American dictionary publisher attributes to US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who has positioned of himself as a "democratic socialist".
As a socialist (or communist) myself, I personally think it's great that especially people from the United States try to figure out the meaning of the word beyond McCarthyism. I'm glad that people show interest in politics and finding out about positions of candidates.
Past years winners are available on Wikipedia.
It is hard to compare a free market to what we have had since the Progressive Era began. I'd suggest getting Ludwig Von Mises's Human Action (free in several formats from mises.org) and reading around in Part Six - The Hampered Market Economy. All these attempts to 'fix' imagined problems only make it worse. And of course the 'solution' to the unintended consequences of one round of intervention is of course more government intervention. In the end there are only two sorts of monopoly and most are of the government creation type where the solution is to get the government to stop doing that. As for Crony Capitalism, that is obviously a symptom of the problem of government intervention and that too will tend to degrade into Socialism if not checked. The boom/bust cycle? Yup, that it usually government intervention directly (money printing) or failing to do one of the few jobs it is actually supposed to do and keep the banks honest (credit expansion).
No we don't need a new economic theory, there is no third way. What we need is to somehow return to the moral and educated public we were before the Progressive Era and I'm darned if I see how that happens. It takes an educated people to see the trap of redistributionist schemes and a moral one to not be seduced by the envy and greed Socialism uses to gain power. One advantage though is that last time we really didn't have the solid economics knowledge to properly defend Capitalism. If we could get hold of the education machinery we could probably immunize the next generation with solid education as to why Capitalism works and why Socialism is a trap.
Von Miser, eh? The Deuce you say! So your garden variety Vienna Circle Libertarianism, and next we will hear that "true" libertarianism has never been tried!
For a guy who supposedly dislikes utopias you seem curiously stuck with "pure capitalism", which is based on impossible requirements, such as
*Perfect information*No barriers of entry and exit*Zero transaction costs*Non-increasing returns to scale*No externalities
and the most impossible of all
I guess people like to publicly root for some other ism besides egoism...
I see the Marxists are here with their talking points. All those issues and more are addressed in the referenced book. And it and a metric crapload more are freely downloadable in multiple formats. In this great Age of Information there really is no excuse for ignorance.
Seriously. Perfect information? It is the market economy that can deal with it, planned ones reliably fail in the presence of incomplete, or worse conflicting, information. Externalities? Yup, it is in there. Scale issues? Open a book and learn. Even the problem of rational actors vs irrational ones is addressed.
Economics is mostly a solved problem. What apparently isn't solved is the political science and psychology to get people to actually accept the science. We live in a dark age of New Age Religions, wicked political systems, half baked redistribution schemes masquerading as economics and general unreason. It won't end well.