William Greider's *Who Will Tell the People?* is an amazingly interesting work, if only for coming up with dozens of original fallacies.

Here is one of my favorites. Greider lambastes the entirely cost-benefit analysis/risk analysis industries, private and government, as a gigantic smokescreen for corporate murder. If a private individual fires a gun into a crowd of 100,000 people and kills one, he goes to jail. If a polluter kills a statistical life, however, it's business as usual. Greider basically claims that if ordinary law were applied to polluters and such, they would be shut down completely.

The big problem with Greider's analysis is that it's 180 degrees wrong. Under normal murder law, no one with cancer could ever prove beyond a reasonable doubt that *their* cancer was caused by pollution in general, much less any particular corporate suspect. Indeed, they could never prove it with a preponderence of the evidence.

I'm not a legal historian, but I would bet that before modern C/B and risk analysis, corporations were never tried for murder for precisely this reason.

Another fun feature of Greider: He inadvertently provides an efficiency defense of rent-seeking. He is outraged that corporations fight against various stupid populist measures like Superfund. His analysis makes me suspect that I've judged the lobbying industry too harshly. If his story is true, lobbyists effectively mitigate, delay, and prevent countless foolish policies.

Greider also has interesting material on the Democrats' connection to the S&L industry. I'd never heard about any of this, but he seems to have his facts straight on this point.

Wrong hasn't been so much fun in years!
--
                        Prof. Bryan Caplan
       Department of Economics      George Mason University
        http://www.bcaplan.com      [EMAIL PROTECTED]

        "Infancy conforms to nobody: all conform to it, so that
         one babe commonly makes four or five out of the adults
         who prattle and play to it."

--Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self-Reliance"




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