Excellent news: only 30% of the population is knuckle draggingly ignorant


Or, we suppose, we could see this as deeply depressing news, that near 30% of the population is still knuckle draggingly ignorant. Because this question isn't about which variant of a free market economy makes people better off. Even we, arch marketeers that we are, will agree that all markets, nowt but markets and only markets isn't the correct operating system for a socio-economic polity. And Pew isn't asking about whether health care should be government supplied, government financed, insurance so or whatever. They're asking about the basic underlying principle, are we to have an economy that is roughly market based or one that has no markets?

And it really shouldn't be difficult for people to get the right answer to that question. Are roughly market based societies the ones that make the populace richer than not market based ones? Even at the possible expense of inequality?

The answer to this is probably the best researched one we have in all of economics. Because the largest ever controlled experiment was carried out into this very question: we generally call it the 20th century.

Hundreds of millions, then billions, were walled off into non-market economies at various times, from 1917 to 1945 and 1948, to return in 1978 and 1989. With some sad remnants in Cuba and North Korea still stuck in the abject penury of non-market economies. And we know the answer very well indeed. No non-market economy has managed decent economic growth (no, the Soviet Union managed, according to Paul Krugman, not one iota of total factor productivity growth over its entire span) while everywhere that has been a market economy for more than a couple of decades is opulently wealthy by any historical or global standard.

It really shouldn't be difficult for people to get the answer to this question right.

Still, to be cheerful about this, at least we have a decent estimation now of the upper possible bound of the Jezzbollah vote.