The Public Interest

The problem with polling

Robert Weissberg

Summer 2002

WOULDN’T it be wonderful to live life unencumbered by the laws of economics? Consumers could set their own prices, both guns and butter would be plentiful, and risk would have been banished like some ancient disease. This hope is obviously utopian, and history shows that disaster awaits idealists and demagogues who insist otherwise.  Though all of us have our favorite economic theories and castigate our opponents as charlatans, some economic realities are indisputable. Imagine if an office seeker suggested that Congress amend the law of supply and demand to bring prosperity. Such a proposal would be laughable and surely not admissible in public discourse.

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