Also known as "public investment," "government investment," "public capital," "government capital," "partially nonrival production inputs," etc, public goods have been a major theme of this blog.
To see Alex Tabarrok trumpeting the importance of public goods is particularly gratifying to me, since Alex writes for Marginal Revolution, a blog whose leanings I would characterize as "libertarian," and works for George Mason University, an institution whose intellectual climate I would characterize as "libertarian." Which means that this article is part of the growing libertarian push for public goods, which first came to my attention from Peter Thiel.Read it at Noahpinion
Alex Tabarrok: PUBLIC GOODS PUBLIC GOODS PUBLIC GOODS!!!
by Noah Smith
This part is encouraging, but there are caveats.
While this seems to be an advance, I wonder in that Tabarrok wants to pay for public investment but cutting "welfare." Is this just another attack on the "welfare state" going incognito?
I also wonder whether "public goods" is the right term here since public goods are non-rival and non-excludable. We won't know this until we see specifics.
As the conservatives are so fond of claiming, public investment is just vote-buying, pork, and political cronyism. As always, one has to ask, Cui bono? Turns out that who benefits depends on which party is in power and whose constituency gets rewarded.