Dreams

Great Seal of the State of Minnesota

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Dreams, dreams, dreams. One local editorialist opines:

State government lacks an agreed-upon vision– a clear, broadly held, bipartisan answer to the question, “What do we want Minnesota to be?”

Lacking that, it follows that Minnesota also lacks a coherent strategic plan and agreed-upon metric measures of progress, the CPAs said. As the saying goes, if a body doesn’t know where it’s going, any road will get it there.

Oh my. This is the technocrat’s dream: if we just had the right strategy, the right policies, the right metrics – why, everything would be wonderful. This means, of course, prosperity for all – in other words, a good economy. With good government on the commanding heights, we can make it happen! Yes we can!

Well, no we can’t. Economies don’t work that way. As Don Boudreaux says:

Economies grow chiefly and always in surprising ways.  This growth results from millions of creative minds ceaselessly cooperating with, and competing against, each other.  The results are inherently unforeseeable and always in progress.

Even more importantly, government attempts to direct the course of technological advance and economic growth – by politically favoring some patterns of investment over others, and by replacing consumers with bureaucrats as the ultimate judges of which forms of economic activity are worthwhile – only stymie these processes.

The best that any government can hope to do is to not impede progress or diminish incentives. Government can, and should, make a level playing field and provide a few high quality essential institutions. That is challenge and dream enough.

 

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