I think it may be useful to recognize the different roles the state can play. Laurie’s point about property rights, and the role the state plays in helping protect these is very relevant. But that role happens at a different level from, for example, that of running a nationalized railway or telecoms company.

Talking of broad brushes, it is tempting but unhelpful to divide the world into ‘free market types’ and ‘statists’ with no nuance. I would say reality is more about people who favour market solutions unless a clear and beneficial role for the state can be defined, and people who prefer centralized provision of most public services. Of course there are differences, but a black-and-white makes people dig themselves in rather than engaging constructively.

Accidental behavioural economist in search of wisdom. Uses insights from (behavioural) economics in organization development. On Twitter as @koenfucius