Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The New Oedipal Complex

Bryan Caplan's new book has an interesting analogy:

Oedipus wanted to marry Jocasta. Jocasta was Oedipus' mother. But Oedipus did not want to marry his mother: He put out his own eyes when he found he had. Similarly: The median voter wants protection. Protection makes the median voter worse off. But the median voter does not want to be worse off. The efforts of both Oedipus and the median voter backfire due to their false beliefs. For Oedipus, the false believe is the Jocasta is not his mother; for the median voter, the false belief is that protectionism is good for the economy.

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