Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Caplan-Wittman Debate


This coming Wednesday 12th September at 6pm marks history, as two huge conflicting views on democracy are finally to be debated, vis-a-vis, in an awesome one time occurrence...

Round 1: The Myth of Democratic Failure

After Professor Wittman's 1989 paper "Why Democracies Produce Efficient Results" (you can access it through JSTOR by logging in here) and his 1995 book "The Myth of Democratic Failure", Don Wittman put forth the argument that "democratic markets work as well as economic markets", clearly defying Public Choice related studies.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce in the left corner a veteran of democracy, who has stood beside his claim for almost 20 years, though thoroughly revised to include responses to those who dared challenge him...
Donald "democracy works" Wittman.

Round 2: The Myth of the Rational Voter

" If you go to the American Economic Association meetings, there you wil learn The Great Truth: the typical economist is a moderate democrat"

You can listen to Professor Caplan comment his new book on Russ Roberts' Econ Talk, get a quick summary of Wittman's main arguments, read an extract from his book on Policy Analysis for CATO Institute, or check out this really neat review on his book at The Economist. Needless to say, Caplan's book has stirred up lots of good, healthy discussion on the topic with the claim that voters are not only rationally ignorant, but simply irrational (apparently quite the "bad" word amongst economists), subject to four main biases that lead democracies to choose bad policies.
Please join me in welcoming on the right corner (drum roll), an expert debateur and sheep tormentor... Bryan "voters are stupid" Caplan.
But don't just take my word for it. Read Don Boudreaux's take on this here.


* The place for the debate is ENTERPRISE 80 (bottom floor of Enterprise Hall, scroll to the top of the blog for a link to the map)

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