Where’s the Demand?

July 19th, 2011

Very interesting thinking from The Economist‘s Democracy in America (whoever that is) on the (apparent) lack of demand in our current economy:

…people … may not be interested in buying a new car this year, but … they’re very interested in riding the subway … There is demand out there. It just isn’t for individual consumer goods.

This to reiterate the point that “there’s a $2 trillion backlog of necessary infrastructure repairs in America”. That’s just repairs.

There’s demand for those infrastructure goods. And because they’re public goods that private actors can’t capture the profit from, the private sector won’t provide them.

Recovery: What we want to buy now | The Economist.

  1. July 19th, 2011 at 23:00 | #1

    “And because they’re public goods that private actors can’t capture the profit from, the private sector won’t provide them.”

    So how come it is that most the time when I read here or Real World Econ Review or Interfluidity or NEP or New Deal 2.0 or etc., I say to myself: Is the world really after all as presented in that little comic book of a book, “Marx for Beginners”? I mean water is wet, unupported things fall to the surface of the earth, fire will hurt you, vinegar and oil separate, labor and capital just don’t get along….

    Is it possible that false consciousness is that stupefying?

    Sure, I may seem silly or naive and just bothersome, but there are grown up people telling stories about minting a $1,000,000,000,000 (or maybe two) and etc. Near as I know, I am the only person to have suggested we just adopt Yap….

    I search for the simile, the metaphor, the analogy, the quip which captures my exasperation with all this, but fail. I return to an episode, thoroughly out of context, of the X-Files: “Jose Chung’s From Outer Space.” Remember the scene where the “alien” is rocking back and forth in his cell, smoking a cigarette, and repeating to himself over and over “I can’t believe this is happening, I can’t believe this is happening….”

    Me neither.

  2. July 20th, 2011 at 06:50 | #2

    @Dave Raithel What’s Yap?

  3. Foppe
    July 20th, 2011 at 11:20 | #3

    I linked to it in the other post as well, but it seems germane here: http://one-salient-oversight.blogspot.com/2011/07/treating-rail-transport-as-commons.html

  4. Luke
    July 27th, 2011 at 12:32 | #4

    A few of the The Democracy In America bloggers:

    W.W. = Will Wilkinson (libertarian, trends slightly left relative to most)
    M.S. = Matthew Steinglass (Wrote the post in question. Authoritarian Left, probably the only mainstream journalist I have read who has defended Female Circumcision. Seems sympathetic to authoritarian cultures.)
    R.A. = Ryan Avent (moderate pro-market liberal).
    There are couple of others I am not familiar with.

    • July 31st, 2011 at 21:25 | #5

      Thanks for the names, Luke. Is this published somewhere, or is it just inside baseball knowledge? Are you able to deduce who’s writing a given column?

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