Ed Driscoll

JOHN KENNETH GALBRAITH, CALL YOUR OFFICE

Orrin Judd links to a peculiar Chicago Tribune article pining for “the Super Car” (aka a Yugo that could get 80 miles per gallon, aka Al Gore’s wet dream), and wondering “what went wrong”.

Nice to know some folks miss John Kenneth Galbraith’s goal of a centrally planned economy. It certainly worked so well for the USSR and Japan, as Ronald Bailey wrote in Reason:

Take a look at John Kenneth Galbraith’s 1967 paean to planning, The New Industrial State (Houghton Mifflin), in which he asserted: “High technology and heavy capital use cannot be subordinate to the ebb and flow of market demand. They require planning and it is the essence of planning that public behavior be made predictable–that is be subject to control.”

Galbraith, too, has heirs–most notably, Robert Reich and Lester Thurow. In his 1980 book The Zero-Sum Society (Basic Books) Thurow suggested that “solving our energy and growth problems demand [sic] that government gets more heavily involved in the economy’s major investment decisions….Major investment decisions have become too important to be left to the private market alone.” Thurow ended with this revealing claim: “As we head into the 1980s, it is well to remember that there is really only one important question in political economy. If elected, whose income do you and your party plan to cut in the process of solving the economic problems facing us?”

Ultimately, the neo-Malthusians and the zero-summers are pushing the same egalitarian agenda: Stop growth and then divvy up the static pie.

And let everyone drive government-mandated Yugos. In the meantime, don’t buy too big a car–Big Grandparent is watching!

UPDATE: Speaking of cars, Glenn Reynolds and Mickey Kaus spent the afternoon testing doing a little test driving. The cars they checked out aren’t quite “super”, but they’re not too shabby, either.