While Joph may joke about people being poor because of dumb financial decisions, um... people do actually make really really dumb financial decisions. All the time
So you'd say they act irrationally and need to be protected via regulation...
Nope. People act irrationally, and it's their right to do so if they want. We can attempt to teach people how to make good rational decisions, but it's not our job to force them to do so. Liberty somewhat requires that people be free to make poor decisions.
... because people can't be relied upon to make good decisions and allow market forces to provide the best outcomes?
Market forces will respond to any action people make. It's not about "best outcomes", it's about "correct outcomes". If you allow the market to react to people's decisions, then poor decisions will (usually) result in poor outcomes, which in turn acts as a natural deterrent to making poor decisions. If you attempt to correct for those market outcomes, then you reduce the odds that people will learn from their mistakes. They'll keep making poor decisions and statistically suffer even more over time.
In other words, if people can't pay their water bills because they decide to spend money on other things instead, then that's their choice. We have to let them suffer the consequences. Attempting to protect them from this will hurt them in the long run. Yes. Harsh world. Fair world is more important.
Glad to see you come around. Or did you forget in your "I'm smarter than idiots!" glory post that your ENTIRE political philosophy relies on the opposite of what you just stated?
Um... It rests on the opposite of what *you* just stated.
That people will make good decisions and the market will drive bad options out and enrich everyone efficiently?
It's not the markets job to drive out bad options or to enrich everyone efficiently. The fact that you think this (or pretend to think this) is your problem, not mine. I'm under no illusions that the market does anything more than respond fairly and correctly to what people do. I happen to *also* believe that if you allow this response, that it gives people the best environment in which to make the best decisions possible and maximizes the odds that they'll experience good outcomes. But by no means does the market guarantee that, nor is it correct to claim that a negative market outcome is some kind of failure of the market itself. Edited, Jul 3rd 2014 5:19pm by gbaji