Borsch on Faith in the Marketplace


* Re “Pry Loose the Cold, Hard Fingers of the Market’s ‘Invisible Hand,’ ” Commentary, Feb. 5: The Rt. Rev. Frederick H. Borsch condemns the American system for producing less than perfect results, and he is correct: Things are not perfect, and there are shortages, injustices, etc. But having said that, he does not make one whit of a case that anything else would be superior in contributing to the general welfare. Look around the world, Reverend, and suggest a system that has provided as good value for so many people for over 200 years.


Huntington Beach


* One can be tolerant of the ineptitude of Borsch in modern economics and its evolution since the mid-18th century. It is more difficult, however, to wink at his sarcastic flaunting of what can be hoped is his intellectual innocence. He finds it inconvenient to reference or quote any economist other than Adam Smith or to pursue any specific issue or application of theory beyond a single sentence. His theological parody degenerates into distortion and misconstruction of perhaps divinely inspired proportions.


Professor of Economics, UCLA


* Borsch needs to talk to some immigrants before he dismisses the power of the marketplace. A co-worker from former Soviet Armenia tells me stories of bribery required by even the lowest government officials. The government for the “common good” had messed up so many aspects of people’s lives that they all started acting in their own enlightened self-interest, even at the risk of severe penalties.


Talk to a Canadian and you will hear stories about their socialized medical system. Cataract patients drive across the border to have their operations in American hospitals and pay for them out of their own pockets because the waiting list in Canada is long. Colombia and Mexico (as well as the U.S.) have strict laws regarding narcotics, but the “invisible hand” of the marketplace is winning.

California did not deregulate the electricity business; it restructured it. Pennsylvania deregulated, and its citizens are enjoying below-national-average rates and numerous consumer choices.