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Complexity and the Art of Public PolicySolving Society's Problems from the Bottom Up$
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David Colander and Roland Kupers

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691169132

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691169132.001.0001

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I Pencil Revisited

I Pencil Revisited

Beyond Market Fundamentalism

(p.31) Chapter 3 I Pencil Revisited
Complexity and the Art of Public Policy

David Colander

Roland Kupers

Princeton University Press

People who believe in the free market are generally much closer to a complexity frame than are those who primarily put their faith in governmental planning and control. In fact, complexity may well often be loosely equated with pure laissez-faire, but complexity includes government, seeing it not as planner or controller, but as a natural partner with existing institutions in a search for useful parameters of action. This joint search is called an “activist laissez-faire” policy. While the terms “activist laissez-faire” and “laissez-faire” may look similar in the standard policy frame, they are quite different in terms of how one envisions the role of government. Hence, we need to distinguish our complexity frame from the free market frame espoused by supporters of unadulterated laissez-faire policy. This chapter illustrates this distinction by revisiting a well-known market story. It is the ode to the market told by I Pencil to Leonard Reed, a free-market newspaper columnist.

Keywords:   free market, complexity frame, laissez-faire, activist laissez-faire policy, I Pencil, Leonard Reed

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