Given that Republicans are strongly in favour of self-reliance, big business and the free market, while the Democrats have inclusion and the common good as their official platform planks, this data appears to be counter-intuitive. It does, however, explain why the Democrats have a hard time getting anything done, as they try to please everyone.
One possible explanation is the Game Theory of John von Neumann and John Nash. In brief, many human interactions, including economic transactions, can be modeled as a finite collection of players playing a game. Each player has a finite set of possible decisions/strategies, and a pay-off function, which depends on all of the current choices being made (for a very good explanation, see the Wikipedia entry at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nash_equilibrium ).Nash showed that each such game has at least one Nash equilibrium. This is a choice of strategies such that, if any single player changes their choice, their pay-off will decrease. Getting there requires perfect knowledge of all other choices, which is most easily achieved by cooperation.
So what is it that Democrats do ‘better’? I would argue the concept of public spending as investment, not waste. Here are the kinds of projects usually funded by Democrats, but vehemently fought by Republicans.
Infrastructure – build better roads, water systems, airports etc, and companies can move products and workers more efficiently. In addition, construction involves well-paid jobs, which increases the tax base.
Entitlements – as onerous as this word is to hard-working people, we don’t often see the elderly starve to death, or massive epidemics. Every US city is probably safer than Buenos Aires. How would that change if the poor were actually living on the streets in large numbers?Education – better-educated people make for a better society, are healthier and less likely to commit crimes (except for fraud).
Science – a bigger contributor to economic growth than abundant natural resources. The problem is that it requires huge investment for unlikely pay-off. This is generally not what companies like to do. Those that do so want results to be proprietary, which necessarily stifles the free exchange of information that progress requires.So what can we conclude? Mathematics can predict that some cooperation is better for the economy than pure competition.
However, this prediction is after the fact, which is much less useful than before. The only people who will accept the original data are those to whom it is emotionally satisfying, namely economists and Democrats. Republicans will find a way to ignore or explain it away. In other words, the book is sadly unnecessary.
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