Introducing Market Forces into “Public” Services is the fourth volume in Liberty Fund’s The Collected Works of Arthur Seldon. It brings together six of Seldon’s most pivotal essays that discuss his alternative proposals for paying for “public” services rather than through coercive taxation. Specifically, Seldon focuses on the varied use of vouchers and the choices people have regarding purchasing or receiving such public services as health care and education. The recurring theme, as noted in Colin Robinson’s introduction, is that “non-market provision, financed by taxpayers, leads to a fatal disconnection between suppliers and consumers.”
Throughout this book, Seldon examines the options and obligations of the government as the “middle-man.” Seldon creates a compelling case that through a return to market principles, “efficiency in the provision of these services will improve, and, above all, people will regain the incentive to provide for themselves instead of relying on the state.” This volume is an invaluable resource for those embroiled in the public debate over such issues as education vouchers, managed health care, and overwhelming taxation.
Arthur Seldon has been writing on classical liberal economics since the 1930s, when he was a student at the London School of Economics during Friedrich Hayek’s time there. For over thirty years, from the late 1950s, he was Editorial Director of the London-based Institute of Economic Affairs, where his publishing program was one of the principal influences on governments all around the world, persuading them to liberalize their economies. His Collected Works in these seven volumes are a major contribution to classical liberal thought.
Colin Robinson was a business economist for eleven years. He was then appointed to the Chair of Economics at the University of Surrey, Guildford, United Kingdom, where he founded the Department of Economics and is now Emeritus Professor. He is the author of 23 books and over 150 scholarly articles and has edited many other books. For many years he has been associated with the Institute of Economic Affairs and from 1992 to 2002 he was the IEA’s Editorial Director.