We have to be taught to behave as economists say we do.

In what is a characteristically thoughtful piece in today’s edition of The Observer, the paper’s management editor, Simon Caulkin claims that New Labour is so wedded to the principles of the so-called free market that “the assault on professionalism – teachers, doctors, lecturers, police – suddenly appears not an unfortunate byproduct of policy: it is the policy (my emphasis). Ministers want doctors and lecturers to be motivated by money and league tables. It is only by ridding them of pesky notions of doing good or knowing best that game theory and public choice can be made to work”. 

To understand how he has arrived at this conclusion, a conclusion I have long felt to be true, the remander of his column has to be read.

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