What do people want?

C. B. Macpherson observed that in the 19th century in the west as suffrage broadened, regulation of markets increased. In some ways, since the 1970s, despite no narrowing of the suffrage, market restraints have weakened.

Yet many of those weakenings have occurred by stealth, when the electorate was otherwise occupied. If relatively unfettered markets fail to produce the goodies, one can expect a return to political control.

I am somewhat dubious that this control will be motivated by a broader notion of human potential that supersedes the discipline of the market.


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