Some stories are just too complicated for ordinary bloggers to explain. That's when we turn to the expert knowledge offered by Perfesser Dave, the Answer Guy. Perfesser Dave knows practically everything there is to know about politics, economics and labour relations in Canada. In fact, if he were any smarter, he'd have to be in Alison Redford's cabinet! So if you have questions, don't ask some blogger! Ask Perfesser Dave!
Questioner: Hi there, Perfesser Dave! It's been a while. I'm sure glad I ran into you. I'm totally confused about all this free-market stuff. The guy who usually writes this blog keeps calling people he doesn't like "market fundamentalists." What's that supposed to mean? I'm totally confused. Can you illuminate my Fuzzification?
Perfesser Dave: No problem, Questioner. It's good to see you too. As it happens, I've been studying the magic of markets and you'll be glad to know I've turned into a big believer. Markets make our lives better in every way. Let's see if I can find my old undergraduate economics textbook. That should explain things pretty well....
Questioner: Perfesser? Are you there?
Perfesser Dave: Just give me a minute, will you? I saw it somewhere here just the other day ... damn! ... Blomqvist and Wonnacott... stupid name ... where the hell is it?
Questioner: Look, if it's a problem, I can ask someone else....
Perfesser Dave: Just shut up and wait, will you!? Ah, there it is! Sorry... Now, what was it you were asking?
Questioner: About the market, Perfesser Dave? What's so great about the market, anyway? And what's a market fundamentalist?
Perfesser Dave: Huh? This is just a bunch of charts and stuff! I remembered it as better than this. Well, OK, all you really need to know, Questioner, is that the market is perfect, and any time the government interferes in the market, it messes things up, because the private sector always does things better... It's right here in my last copy of Fraser Forum. So if you privatize everything, everything will be better. It'll be prefect, in fact. A market fundamentalist is just the way lazy left-wingers describe someone who recognizes this obvious fact.
Questioner: What? You can't privatize everything? What if you privatized ... I don't know ... something like water?
Perfesser Dave: Everything would be better if you privatized water, because you, the customer, could chose the water market solutions you need! That's why the Alberta government is trying to privatize water right now. So your future can be better ... and wetter!
Questioner: That's dumb, Perfesser Dave! I need water to live, not just to dip my comb in... Same as everybody. Anything else you think we should have a market for?
Perfesser Dave: Well, that's why I'm so excited about this. I'm working on a plan to let voters trade their votes.
Questioner: Trade their votes! What do you mean trade their votes? You mean like I vote NDP in a Liberal riding and you vote Liberal in an NDP riding, like that?
Perfesser Dave: No, no. I mean to sell them.
Questioner: Sell votes! You can't sell votes! That would be ... undemocratic!
Perfesser Dave: Now Questioner, you're not listening. Democracy is undemocratic when it gets in the way of free market choices. That's why we had to shut down the plebiscite in Greece. See, because the Greeks haven't been enjoying the benefits of a free market, Greek democracy no longer speaks for the public interest and cannot be relied upon to solve the problem.* That's also why we had to prorogue the Parliament in Canada! We can't have old-style Democracy 1.0 getting in the way of Economic Democracy 2.0!
Questioner: But it's against the law to sell your vote!
Perfesser Dave: Well, that's why I'm working on it. It's against the law right now, sure, but we can change the law to create a free market in votes, and then everything will be better. Freer! And if we can't change the law, we'll just ignore it. It's OK to ignore the law when it gets in the way of free markets. Doing anything else would practically be illegal!
Questioner: Are you sure, Perfesser Dave? I don't know... So, how the heck will everything be better if we sell our votes?
Perfesser Dave: Well, for one thing, the true value of your vote will be established.
Questioner: Ha-ha! Your vote won't be worth much if you live in Edmonton! But -- sheesh! -- if you live in Moose Meadows, it'll be worth plenty!
Perfesser Dave: Why do you think that, Questioner?
Questioner: Because rural votes are worth way more in Alberta than city votes. Everybody knows that.
Perfesser Dave: But that's where you're wrong, Questioner ... because you don't understand markets. Your vote will be worth more in Edmonton because there's more competition in politics there. The NDP, the Liberals, the Wildrose, the Conservatives will all want to buy your vote in Edmonton. In Moose Meadows? Who cares, they're all going Tory anyway?
Questioner: Hmmm... You may be right. But, really, why would I sell my vote?
Perfesser Dave: For money, of course.
Questioner: But then I'd lose my vote!
Perfesser Dave: I hate to break it to you, Questioner, but your vote doesn't mean much now...
Questioner: But it's worth something. If I sold it, rich people, like billionaires, would buy all the votes and I'd have no power!
Perfesser Dave: Uh, Questioner.... Are you listening to me?
Questioner: Mmmm-hmmmm. But I don't like the sound of this at all....
Perfesser Dave: I don't see why not. Billionaires have all the power anyway, and you give your vote away for nothing! This way, you'd get something back for your vote. Maybe enough to buy an iPod or something, like that time you all voted for Ralph Klein because he gave you $400. This just gets the transaction in the correct order.
Questioner: I don't know, Perfesser Dave...
Perfesser Dave: Well, I think Premier Redford is going to be very interested, after she's got through looking at all the government departments she'd like to privatize, plus maybe the jails of course... All I've got to do is find one of her advisers to talk to...
Questioner: Awwwwww! You're makin' fun of me...
Perfesser Dave: Calm down, Questioner. I'm not making fun of you. This is a serious idea. There's no reason in the modern world why there shouldn't be a free market in votes just like there's a free market in everything else. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose ... except maybe your vote, but if you're a typical Albertan, you don't use your vote anyway, so what's the big deal? And you could make some money...
Perfesser Dave: Anyway, there's even more in my plan for you. If you don't want to sell your votes, you can save them up and then use them all in one election ... or sell them as a group. They might take on real value that way, you know, like busloads of old people with membership cards at a Tory leadership convention.
Questioner: Awwwwwww, Perfesser Dave!
Perfesser Dave: Quit wailing. I'm getting tired of your complaining. This is a democracy, so you don't get a vote in how it's run anyway!
Questioner: That's it. I'm going out for a breath of fresh air.
Perfesser Dave: Good idea. Did I tell you about "Perfesser Dave's Market-Based Breathing Solutions ™"?
Perfesser Dave: Jeeze! What a grump! Students nowadays!
* Perfesser Dave didn't actually write this sentence. The Perfesser simply plagiarized it from Michael Walker, the Fraser Institute guy! Really! I'm not making that up, and neither is Perfesser Dave. We'll return to this theme later and I'll prove it.
This post also appears on David Climenhaga's blog, Alberta Diary.
Thank you for reading this story…
More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.
rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.
So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.
And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.