Tag Archives: Crony Capitalism


Today Paul Krugman writes:

Thus, when mad cow disease was detected in the U.S. in 2003, the Department of Agriculture was headed by Ann M. Veneman, a former food-industry lobbyist. And the department’s response to the crisis — which amounted to consistently downplaying the threat and rejecting calls for more extensive testing — seemed driven by the industry’s agenda.

One amazing decision came in 2004, when a Kansas producer asked for permission to test its own cows, so that it could resume exports to Japan. You might have expected the Bush administration to applaud this example of self-regulation. But permission was denied, because other beef producers feared consumer demands that they follow suit.

When push comes to shove, it seems, the imperatives of crony capitalism trump professed faith in free markets.

This would show at best that the people (like Bush or Veneman) who profess belief in free markets don't have it.  It wouldn't however show that free markets are a failure at such regulation (which is what Krugman intends to show).  In fact, it seems to me, it would make the point that regulation of the free market produces problems such as the one Krugman describes.