Three basic questions motivate our building the framework of political change in Madmen.
- Why does politics generate wasteful and unjust policies?
- Why do such failed policies persist even when superior alternatives are known and available?
- Why do certain failed policies get replaced with other ideas?
While most of this blog focuses on question 3, it’s always helpful to come back to the first two questions, both of which are answered by traditional public choice theory (1 by rent-seeking a la bootleggers & baptists, 2 by the transitional gains trap). You’d be hard pressed to find more glaring examples of #1 than the pure protectionism of the most recent session of the Texas Legislature.
The Wal-Mart bill [that would allow it to sell liquor] didn’t make it out of committee. Neither did one backed by Tesla Motors to allow automakers to sell directly to consumers, or a measure pushed by Uber Technologies to legalize ride booking statewide, or one championed by craft-beer makers who want to peddle bottles at their breweries.