Thursday, January 11, 2007

Iraq and the Need for Freer Markets

One of the knocks on U.S. president George Bush from conservative/libertarian types is that he is a "Big Government Conservative."

That is he has done precious little to cut down on the size, scope or cost of government in America.

And now it looks like he is exporting these notions to Iraq.

Patrick Basham, of the Democracy Institute , notes this in an article which appears in today's Ottawa Citizen.

Basham notes that Bush's proposed "military surge will be combined with a Back to the Future-style billion-dollar government jobs program that borrows more from FDR's Depression-era statist New Deal than from 21st-century free-market economics. Mr. Bush's New Deal for Iraq is an abandonment of conservative economic principles to match his earlier abandonment of a traditional conservative foreign policy."

So what should Bush be doing?

Basham says, "for Iraq to become a democratic beacon in the Middle East, it must first become an economic beacon. Such essential economic progress will occur only as a result of limited, rather than extended, government interference in the country's economic life. An end to financial corruption and a program of privatization, low taxes, and minimal regulation -- built upon a foundation of private property rights protected and enforced by an impartial court system -- are prerequisites for building an oasis amidst Iraq's economic desert."

Sounds like a good policy for Iraq, and by the way it sounds like a good policy for Canada.

1 comment:

Miles Lunn said...

I certainly think freer markets are the way to go in Canada, but I am not sure about Iraq. Free Markets require an entrepeneurial and individualistic culture and therefore don't necessarily work well in cultures that are more religious, more collectivist, or less developed. It might work in Iraq, but not being an expert on Iraqi culture, I am not going to say it is the way to go or not go. Most importantly it should be the Iraqis and no one else who makes this decision