Bring Back Shame and Blame
By Amy Willis
In this episode, EconTalk host Russ Roberts welcomes back Arnold Kling to talk about two ideas we think a lot about- improving government and improving public discourse. Kling has some ideas about how to improve both, and he shares them throughout the conversation. Why has the administrative state grown so much? Kling and Roberts agree that its intrusiveness in our lives is more an issue than its magnitude. But what can be done? If we could bring back shame and blame, could it help?
Let’s hear what you think of Kling’s proposals for making government more efficient. And of course we’re going to ask you to pick your own hypothetical Fantasy Intellectual Team. Share your thoughts with us in the comments below, or use our prompts to start your own conversation offline. No matter how you do it, we love to hear from you.
1- How does Kling describe the difference between “naïve” and “state capacity” libertarianism? How do the government’s response to the COVID pandemic and the fragility of the power grid illuminate this distinction?
2- To what extent have property rights become more ambiguous in today’s world? Is there a greater role for government in safeguarding them today, as Kling seems to suggest? How might private sector governance be employed to safeguard such intangible assets?
3- Kling proposes two ideas to make the administrative state both more effective and accountable. What are they? What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of each? What’s the likelihood of either or both coming to fruition?
4- The conversation closes with a discussion of Kling’s Fantasy Intellectual teams project. What do you think makes someone a good (public) intellectual? Why is it so hard to find out who’s really an expert?
5- Ok, let’s hear it. Which seven people would you put on your Fantasy Intellectual Team? We hope you’ll share below so we all can see and comment on each others’ teams!