Magazine May 4, 2020, Issue

The COVID-19 Plague Considered as a Deregulatory Opportunity

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It has exposed the weakness of central planning

The ongoing war with the coronavirus has not only exposed the pitfalls of regulation but also provided a rare opportunity to multilaterally disarm in the battle for special-interest favors.

Effective central planning is impossible. No one is capable of appreciating the myriad circumstances that people find themselves in, let alone of keeping up with changes. As Friedrich Hayek put it, the limited information available to regulators “by its nature cannot take direct account of these circumstances of time and place,” and so “the central planner will have to find some way or other in which the decisions depending on them can …

This article appears as “The Current Plague Considered as a Deregulatory Opportunity” in the May 4, 2020, print edition of National Review.

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Casey B. Mulligan is a professor of economics at the University of Chicago’s Kenneth C. Griffin Department of Economics, and served as the chief economist of the White House Council of Economic Advisers in 2018–19. He is also the author of the recently released You’re Hired! Untold Successes and Failures of a Populist President, which details conflicts between President Trump and special interests.

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