Following the concerns about botulism and Fonterra, there have been increasing calls for New Zealand to be “diversified” or even for the NZ government to “pick winners”. Gareth Kiernan touches on these ideas, and why we should be careful with them here. A choice quote:
Although economic diversity is useful in terms of limiting the volatility of GDP growth, it needs to be remembered that “picking winners” is generally a costly and futile exercise – politicians will usually be worse than entrepreneurs at where to invest resources, and are worse at letting poor performers go.
Remember, it is folly to look at the failures of markets and entrepreneurs without recognising the failures of institutions and government (as a large institution) as well. In that context, aiming to help out certain firms looks more like taking risk off businesses and putting it on the taxpayer – a shift that hardly seems fair.
What do you think?