Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is showing that she didn’t pay much attention in her economics classes – yes, her degree is in economics. For she’s trying to claim that a currency is a public good and in fact ought to be one. This being driven by a rather perverse idea that only governments should provide public goods.
No, a currency isn’t a public good. And there’s nothing at all to suggest that governments should or can be the only suppliers of public goods. So, you know, this is all nonsense, even if politically effective nonsense:[perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] AOC: I see. So we are discussing a currency controlled by an undemocratically selected coalition of largely massive corporations. Do you believe currency is a public good? Marcus: Congresswoman, I believe that sovereign currencies should remain sovereign, and we do not want to challenge sovereign currencies. We just want to augment their capabilities in a way that they can be — AOC: But do you believe currency is a public good? [/perfectpullquote] [perfectpullquote align=”full” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] Marcus: Congresswoman, I believe that sovereign currencies are sovereign, and as a result they should continue — AOC: So do you believe Libra should be a public good? Marcus: Congresswoman, again, we will work with all of the regulators and address all concerns, and the regulators will determine — AOC: I’ll take that as a no. I should take that as a no? [/perfectpullquote]
The correct answer, of course, being that a currency isn’t a public good, Libra won’t and shouldn’t be and Congresswoman, you know this too.
For a public good is something that is non-rivalrous and non-excludable. The first doesn’t mean does it have rivals, but it does mean that if I have some does that limit the amount that you can have? Sure, this is one of the Congresswoman’s usual complaints, that the plutocrats have all the money and the proletariat don’t. Excludable means, well, can we stop people having it? Sure, the Federal government stops people like Iran using the $, stops anyone dealing with Iran using the $. And sure as heck the Congresswoman complains that people get stopped from having enough $ by the iniquities of capitalism.
So, no, a currency isn’t a public good. And it shouldn’t be.
It does actually get worse than that. For the argument in favour of government providing public goods isn’t that they must. Or that only they should. Rather, that private market actors won’t provide all that many of them, perhaps not enough. Thus government needs to be involved in subsidising or causing the creation of public goods. This is an important difference. For, if private market actors come along to produce a public good the correct reaction isn’t but, but, government must be doing that. It is, rather, great, go for it, that’s less that government has to do. For that public good is being produced without government having to, ain’t that sweet?
The truly annoying thing about all this – no one expects Maxine Waters to understand this sorta stuff – is that Ocasio Cortez does in fact have a degree in economics, quite a good one, and she’s certainly been taught this stuff even if she’d prefer to forget it right now.
No, of course a currency isn’t a public good you idiot. Even if it were, a privately run currency would be delightful, just a task that government doesn’t have to do.