Market Power

Musings by an academic economist on the power of markets and the power over markets.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005


Last week, I traveled to Philadelphia for the mid year economists' convention. When I go to these things, I like to take some time to see the sites around town. This time I spent several hours at Independence National Park, home of the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall (where the details of the US Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were hammered out), and other historical sites.

One thing that impressed me (besides the security measures!) was the amount of the various presentations I attended and exhibits I viewed that focusesd on the various issues in US history that are antithetical to the notion of liberty: namely slavery, "Native American" issues, and womens' suffrage. I appreciated the irony.

Yet I found the presentations and exhibits, at least the ones that I saw, lacking. Standing in Independence Hall, standing outside of the grave of Ben Franklin, I thought about the millions of people who have immigrated to this country over the years and still immigrate to this country. Of all their choices, they chose to come here, in large part because of the political and economic freedoms that were first hammered out in Philly by Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, etc. .