Monday, April 25, 2011

Cognitive Dissonance on Government vs Private Sector Investment

Just a thought resulting from a conversation last Thursday at the Cato Institute:

If it's crazy for a venture capitalist to invest in something, why is it sane for the government to invest in the exact same thing? And if you support the government investing in it, and yet question the supposed market failure of the venture capitalist not being crazy enough to invest in it, aren't you undermining your own argument for the government investing in something? Because after all, with the venture capitalist, his clients and he understand the risks and it's only their money at risk. With the government, it's our money at risk (without our explicit consent), and government has a repeated history of failure in industrial policy.

It's quite a cognitive dissonance that I ran into during that conversation, and worth thinking through in full here, but for now it's up here to remind me to do so, rather than being forgotten in the mists of sleep.

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