Bob Alderman’s tribute to free enterprise (Jan. 31) is an example of black-and-white thinking in a technicolor world. The premise that sports, courts and government are zero-sum enterprises ignores many realities. It would be hard to call LeBron James a loser despite Cleveland’s record. Courts are typically forums where difficult issues are mediated to both parties’ satisfaction and benefit. When government spends for infrastructure, the military, schools and many other things that private industry can’t or won’t tackle, the societal benefits far outweigh the costs.
Looking, on the other hand, at free enterprise, the financial collapse made a shambles of Alan Greenspan’s faith in the self-healing properties of deregulated markets. We live in a country where important products like medical care and broadband services lag the functionality and quality of similar offerings in far more heavily regulated, developed countries — at significantly higher prices.
Any or all of these things are worthy of vigorous and lengthy debate, far more than can be incorporated in a 200-word letter. That’s exactly my point. The Ayn Rand crowd would like to make issues related to the role of government and private enterprise seem simple. They’re not.