Markets and morally satisfying outcomes.

Avatar

William Brafford

William Brafford grew up in North Carolina, home of the world's best barbecue, indie rock, and regional soft drinks. He just barely sustains a personal blog and "tweets" every now and then under the name @williamrandolph.

Related Post Roulette

34 Responses

  1. Avatar Francis says:

    I think you’re making a mountain out of a molehill. People form markets because markets serve their needs; people form governments for the same reason (more or less). The tension between the liberty of the marketplace and the rules of government exist because we-the-people have multiple inconsistent desires — low-cost goods that are made without excess pollution or horrendous labor conditions, equal treatment under the law without excessive regulation or bureaucracy.

    Trying to establish a economic/philosophical morality that delineates, ex ante, the proper division between markets and government is a fool’s errand. Life is simply too complex in all its possible variations. The best we can do is muddle along and try to address obvious failure in both spheres.Report

    • Avatar William Brafford in reply to Francis says:

      I am not thinking of a comprehensive systematic morality so much as a view we should take of ourselves for political purposes, which I think would be a part of muddling through.Report

  2. Avatar sidereal says:

    A fine post.

    I wish more people would agree that the market is a tool of our culture. . a greatly useful tool for translating effort and satisfaction into the same currency. . rather than our culture being a tool of the market — a chit in the great exchange to be traded for whatever size pile of consumer electronics we can be whipped into a sufficient frenzy of desire to covet.Report

  3. One reason we don’t use them more is precisely because of the level of taxation and especially regulation entrepreneurs are confronted with. That is why so many businesses are locating overseas, yet remarkably very few if any of them these days seem interested in locating in Hugo’s Venezuela, where he decides at the drop of a hat what the fair market value of a business is when, not if, he decides to expropriate it.

    Do note also that of the businesses that choose to remain in the US, they tend to flee places like California, and migrate to those states where conditions are more amenable in the way of tax and regulation.

    I should also point out, as regards your second point about markets, that it is not necessarily true that investors learn from the past. There’s something about an expanding market bubble that seems to affect investors on some kind of unconscious level, almost like a Pavlovian reaction, and there are always more than a few investment firms and managers ready and willing to string them along. How long after the tech bubble was it before the housing bubble hit? Not even ten years.

    The major problem though is insurmountable. The market, like everything else, moves in cycles, and there will always be up times and down times. A savvy investor understands that and takes it into account. Far too many of them don’t. Government can help alleviate the problem to an extent, but only to a very limited extent. After so much, it becomes counter-productive and tends to drag out the length of recovery exponentially.

    By and large, nothing is going to just keep going up forever and ever.Report

    • Avatar William Brafford in reply to PatrickKelley says:

      “How long after the tech bubble was it before the housing bubble hit? Not even ten years.”

      Technical discussions of the Efficient Market Hypothesis are over my head, but there was a recent Crooked Timber post that argued that “[i]f the Great Depression, the dotcom boom and bust and the current Global Financial Crisis are all consistent with the efficient markets hypothesis, the hypothesis can’t tell us much of interest about anything.” Interesting stuff.Report

  4. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    This is very thoughtful post. I can’t entirely associate myself with the idea that whether we might or might not choose to have a market economy system can sensibly be judged wholesale by whether it produces morally accptable outcomes, because the market is itself is a natural product of innate human proclivities behaviors under certain conditions without which humans are not free and that governments are obligated by their nature to provide if they are able, namely security, property rights, the backstopping of contracts, etc. A society in which government either fails negligently to establish these conditions, or eliminates freedom to act within them is clearly violating the basic liberty of the governed. HOWEVER, the government, being necessary to establish these conditions, is not bound to place no conditions on them or to be blind to the suffering their outcomes may produce. The government is entirely justified in undertaking to alleviate profound suffering in a market system up to the point where it materially infringes on the economic liberty (the freedom to act economically) in the system as a whole. Where to draw the line? Democratic debates as well as courts will answer that. So I don’t think we are in a position to fundamentally question the institution of the market; it is an inherent result of conditions of liberty. But efforts at alleviation of suffering are consistent with the maintenance of conditions of liberty.

    But here is where I really appreciate what William notes early on, resisting the polar either-or impulse that this discussion frequently succumbs to. He says that these discussions “have tended to move into debates about the merits of communism and capitalism.” And indeed, it has been suggested that this is a binary choice — my way or Kim Il Sung’s way; if you’ll defend any government intervention into markets, then you are absolutely against markets and for central planning. To this, after blinking my eyes twice or thrice, I can only respond by just asking, do we or do we not live in a market economy? Can you go to a store and buy things for a price, or go to another store and perhaps buy them for a lower price? Can you haggle with a car dealer? Can you learn to knit and start selling your wares on the internet? It’s fine to believe that market would be better if government took no actions in the economy or that the condition of liberty demands that it not. It is not justifiable to suggest that because the government undertakes some actions to affect markets, we therefore do not live in a market economy, or that anyone who would defend some of those actions does not believe in the market as the right and natural system for the ordering of economic life in a free society. That contention I would submit, Gentlemen, is fundamentalism pure and simple.Report

    • Avatar William Brafford in reply to Michael Drew says:

      “So I don’t think we are in a position to fundamentally question the institution of the market; it is an inherent result of conditions of liberty. But efforts at alleviation of suffering are consistent with the maintenance of conditions of liberty.”

      I wish I had said something like this in the post. A society that tried to do away with markets altogether would be an immoral one. But, staunch anarchists excluded, we all believe that human freedom can be simultaneously respected and bounded.Report

  5. Avatar Kyle says:

    I really like this post and its the first one in awhile that hasn’t provoked a do I agree/disagree response.

    Mainly I’m just curious about something, William, you write:

    “But if Freddie’s right that human need is not just a type of strong preference, then a market that fails to satisfy human need cannot be judged morally satisfactory.”

    Markets are conglomerations, right? They’re a reflection of aggregate desires and values. So in effect aren’t you saying that it’s not the market per se that is morally unsatisfactory but the aggregate total of its constituents. So using a bit of slight of hand, what really is morally unsatisfactory is that more people want cars, tv’s, and clothes than want a base minimum of supports for everyone in the society and they’re willing to work for the former in a way that they aren’t willing to work for the latter.

    If that’s the case, addressing “market failures” can bring some material relief to some parties but the fundamentals will always be stacked against the needy as long as the value sets remain unchanged.

    Personally, that’s why I’ve never really been persuaded to fear the merciless market, because there is no market only billions of lines of code a conglomeration of preferences and so the substance is not in the market but the values and desires of the constituent participants. The market doesn’t produce sub-optimum results, people do. If the point of this post is clarity, I think we should strive to recognize that although we can address needs unmet via a market, the fundamental problem is not the market but people and at that not solely or necessarily faceless profit-mongers.

    A tangential and still incomplete thought triggered by the post is to what degree we can view preferences as moral. I know there’s a fair amount of philosophical work on the subject but not being well versed in it, I can only question whether innate preferences ought to be judged on a moral basis.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Kyle says:

      Good thoughts, Kyle. Just a few provocations to see if we can get some discussion going under this excellent post.

      First, a semantic but not inconsequential point. You say,

      The market doesn’t produce sub-optimum results, people do.

      Right, I’ve heard this one before. “The market can never fail! Only the people who make it up!” Well, guess what? (Heresy alert!) “The market” is nothing but an analytical framework to anayze/characterize the emergent properties of the behavior of people pursuing their preferences. It has no inherent existence itself apart from the people participating in it. If they fail or produce outcomes in need of improvement, it does. Whether it does/they do, of course, is question we have to answer using our own judgement of how the actual outcomes compare to what we think could be achieved.

      Now, to move to a more substantive point of what is in fact agreement:

      If that’s the case, addressing “market failures” can bring some material relief to some parties but the fundamentals will always be stacked against the needy as long as the value sets remain unchanged.

      This is very significant. If we can agree on that, we may actually have what amounts to an agreement in principle. Because, Freddie’s hopes aside, the liberal defender of state efforts to take the rough edges off of capitalism for those it marginalizes and regulate its extreme swings doesn’t hold out the possibility that anything more than “material relief to some parties,” as well precaution against major system collapse (which hopefully we can all agree on), can be achieved through intervention — that is precisely the goal. No liberal thinks or holds that the market system is fair (i.e. in your terms that “the fundamentals” will ever not “be stacked against the needy”), but nor does he believe it should be made fair. This may be an idiosyncratic view, but I don’t believe that liberals who use the rhetoric of “fairness” to describe certain tweaks to the system they’d like to make or preserve will actually be that the resulting system would be actually fair. I think what is meant is merely that these are some minimum conditions necessary to ask those who do least well by the system to accept it as legitimate. Liberals defend the system because it is the product, as you point out, of the decisions of free people in a system that values liberty. A fair system would look more like what Freddie has in mind — but as they are not radicals, liberals do not advocate its establishment. While liberals accept what they see as an unfair system because it is the product of the demonstrated values of free people, they nevertheless do not accept, and see no reason to accept, outcomes of grotesque degradation where more or less obvious possibilities for mitigation are available. And so their position comes out to be something close to what you describe above.

      You suggest if I read you right, Kyle, that for some reason because in their private actions people do not demonstrate an interest in helping to provide for their fellow person in need (though obviously many do), this should mean that it not be done through collective, public action. But in fact, Americans have through their political process demonstrated just such a willingness (and also reconsidered and moderated it), having in fact established a significant welfare and regulatory state in the last century and then scaled it back somewhat. One could argue that this simply reflects a conclusion on their part that the function of providing a social safety net can be better or more reliably performed by government than through private philanthropic actions (or more accurately, by both working side by side). It doesn’t seem like a persuasive argument to say that because Americans do not through their private actions demonstrate that helping the poor is a major part of their value system, there therefore should not be a public effort to do so, when in fact Americans have demonstrated through public decisions just such a moral commitment (no matter how effective the resulting actions turned out to be).

      I’d welcome your thoughts.Report

      • Avatar William Brafford in reply to Michael Drew says:

        Kyle, I don’t agree with this: “Markets are conglomerations, right? They’re a reflection of aggregate desires and values.” That’s not an illegitimate way to think of markets, it’s just not the one I meant to use in my post. I think of a market as an abstract structured space within which agents act. (I studied mathematics in college; now this is just how I think.) The structure of the space is comprised of explicit rules and implicit norms. The crucial thing is that we (the citizens) can affect both the rules and the norms. The explicit rules have to do with property, inheritance, contracts, and the like. Social norms are much harder to change, but there are plenty of historical examples where some group (e.g. temperance societies, abolitionists, civil rights organizations) manages to do it. In a broad, democratic sense, we’re responsible for the rules we choose, in the same way that on the individual level, we can plan ahead to avoid doing things we know we’ll be strongly tempted to do. (If I can’t afford the CD, I shouldn’t go to the record store.) Now that we know that we’re really prone to market bubbles, we can try to figure out how to avoid getting ourselves into bubble situations.

        So I guess another way of saying this is that as human beings we’re always trying to shuffle between our desires over different time frames, and I know that my own short-term desires trump my long-term values all the time. Like Michael’s saying, if I’m reading him right, perhaps our public decisions should be viewed as a way of trying to ensure that our values prevail over our whims.Report

        • Avatar Kyle in reply to William Brafford says:

          The end of financial history, William?

          Still, I think it’s worth questioning how does one gauge what is a whim and what is a value for anyone not themselves? You could be right here, but I don’t have any idea what this would look like.Report

          • Avatar William Brafford in reply to Kyle says:

            Well, there’s a whole lot of writing out there on what constitutes “enlightened self-interest,” but I think that, in the broadest way, we sort out our values from our inclinations by talking/arguing with each other.Report

      • Avatar Kyle in reply to Michael Drew says:

        On your first point, you’re completely right, the rhetorical point was meant to emphasize that the problem lies with the people not the analytical framework itself.

        On your more provocative point, I think it necessarily becomes hairier to go from the highlands of general philosophy to the mean streets of contemporary politics, but New Cap City, here we come.

        “No liberal thinks or holds that the market system is fair (i.e. in your terms that “the fundamentals” will ever not “be stacked against the needy”), but nor does he believe it should be made fair. This may be an idiosyncratic view,’ I think it’s a flatteringly incomplete view. I think this is pretty standard Senate Democrat fare but there are liberals out there who actually do want the system to be “made fair.” That they exist I believe is fact, their importance to the movement is significantly more debatable, but that’s uninteresting to me, because heretofore we both seem to agree.

        My suggestions were entirely observational and not prescriptive so I see where you’re coming from but my focus was on calling a spade a spade, not suggesting whether we should use it or not.

        I happen to think that it’s perfectly legitimate and good to act collectively to modify market rules and what not. I see no reason why philanthropy should be exclusively private. If I were to make a prospective critique, it’s that the approach of using politics to fix “bad” market outcomes, is Sisyphean, a perpetual uphill battle. It might even be counter-productive.

        What we really want is a social shift, a change in values that needles the market towards better/more moral outcomes. IOW the real victory here is not feeding the hungry, but inculcating a widely shared belief that we ought to feed the hungry.

        Which is why I emphasized the people – as constituents of the market. We focus on modifying market rules and norms but if the problem is not that the market fails but that “the people” insufficiently value certain things, then perhaps the focus is on a less effective solution.

        Obviously I don’t believe the two are mutually exclusive, pursuing social change and pursuing political change, but I also think they’re related. I think as an avenue of advocacy, this is where the pursuit of government action without encouraging the adoption of certain mores as a values comes up short. The more we adopt and pursue collective solutions to problems – I wonder – the more we undermine a broader sense of personal responsibility towards solving the problem because now it’s “officially someone’s job.”

        My view on the matter is also why I’m generally so skeptical of the faith political liberals’ have in government solutions. If “the market” doesn’t result in something, chances are there’s a reason why, and a greater chance that it’s because people are insufficiently committed to whatever outcome hasn’t materialized. You can create a program, but if the commitment to the goal, or lack thereof, hasn’t changed, then what is the quality of this program going to look like?

        I think this is why prohibitions are so bad, they address the legality of the market but they don’t address the demand and intensity of demand for certain things. I think there’s room for government action to push for the social change that would result in a market-affecting value shift. The war on drugs has – I think – had some impact on the social value of drugs and nudged some in society towards a general opposition to the use of drugs, even if they are/were illegal, in a way that might not have happened without years of “this is your mind on drugs” campaigns.

        Is it a complete success? No. However, I don’t doubt that Americans are less permissive of drug use now than they were in the 60’s-80’s. Smoking is another one, convincing people that they don’t actually want to smoke or shouldn’t, I would imagine has been a far more effective deterrent than taxes or bans.

        To wrap up, I’m hardly an anti-government zealot and believe in a proper, limited role of government and continual discussions about those limits, but I also think addressing the failure of the market to achieve moral outcomes is folly. It’s trying to game the rules of how we make trade-offs to achieve our goals to give people things they wouldn’t otherwise get, rather than trying to directly get people to make different trade-offs.Report

        • Avatar Kyle in reply to Kyle says:

          In this super-long comment, I forgot to note that I’m not advocating wholesale indoctrination via the government, I just mean to say that I think it’s perfectly legitimate for political advocacy to advance social advocacy and that – with the appropriate consent – it’s not categorically inappropriate for the government to engage in the same.Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Kyle says:

          A couple of small points:

          “If “the market” doesn’t result in something, chances are there’s a reason why,…”

          Very possibly the answer is that there is no money to made in solving some problems.

          “The more we adopt and pursue collective solutions to problems – I wonder – the more we undermine a broader sense of personal responsibility towards solving the problem because now it’s “officially someone’s job.”

          This may be more a matter of perception then anything else, but I think when you make a problem “someone’s job”, give them a budget and a boss to answer to, then you are a) making a person responsible and b) showing a strong commitment to getting things done. If a problem isn’t anybodies job then responsibility is diffused often to the point where nothing gets done.Report

          • Avatar Kyle in reply to greginak says:

            The first point is exactly what I was saying. The lack of money isn’t random or even necessarily malicious, it’s a reflection of where this priority ranks relative to others. Even if your point is implicitly premised on the profit motive, even without the profit motive, you’d still have scarcity and scarcity induced prioritizing. So even if there’s no money to be made in say providing the mail, we do it because we value mail service.

            I’m also distinctly not talking about the collective action problem and implying that if the government weren’t responsible, we’d pick up the slack.

            What I’m saying/wondering is more nuanced, if responsibilities offloaded to the government lessen our resolve to feel personally committed to fulfilling them. If so, the approach is not necessarily to stop offloading responsibilities to the government, but instead, to do so while encouraging a personal commitment to problem solving.

            There’s a difference between creating clear lines of responsibility and accountability with respect to fixing a problem – what you describe – and creating a false public-private division of labor.

            It’s the difference between, “I don’t need to pick up this litter and throw it away because we pay someone to do it,” versus “I should pick this up because as a member of this community, I share in our collective responsibilities, even those we primarily delegate to othersReport

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Kyle says:

          I really do believe anyone who wants to reform society to the extent that it becomes economically fair (regardless of liberty) is not a liberal, but rather a radical of some sort or other. We live in a fundamental liberal society — markets/mixed economy. Many liberals regard it as unfair but nevertheless basically support the system, and don’t think any of the reforms they propose would actually make the system fair — as you point out it is too fundamentally unfair for that to be the case. hence, I think definitionally liberals don’t want to make society fair but rather less unfair; the real desire to make the economic system fair is the province of radicals.Report

  6. Avatar E.D. Kain says:

    Excellent piece, William.Report

  7. Avatar Rufus says:

    I think Rufus’s comments — that not everything should be thought of in market terms — have indicated this line of thinking.

    I think you’ve explained my position fairly well. I’m really just saying that we already do this, whether we know it or not. I mean, of course we do. None of judges culture in purely market terms. Maybe the key word here is “purely”, which I would add to your sentence. If we did judge culture in purely market terms, we’d have to admit that Avatar is the greatest film ever made and Miley Cirus is the greatest singer of her generation. To be even more vulgar, we don’t look at the metaphysical question and say, “Hey, let me figure out which denomination has the most adherents, and that’s the true faith!”

    To use a closer-to-home example, someone made the comment recently that very few people want to sit around (I actually tend to walk while reading, but okay) and read Aristotle. I don’t think most educated people think therefore that there’s no justification for philosophy professors; although I’ve certainly met admins who would argue that enrollment levels show that the business degree is much more valuable to the university than the philosophy degree. But, they keep around the Aristotle professor because he meets other cultural/educational needs that we have.

    Of course, I think market values play some part. There are certainly films that I’ve looked into because the Criterion Collection released them on DVD, which indicates a certain demand. I just think that only the very insensate look at culture in purely market terms. Middle managers basically, and music label executives. Not the rest of us.Report

  8. Avatar Freddie says:

    There are many things to say, but I will merely say this: we already have a hybrid system. We merely lack a hybrid system that works well, from the perspective that William has described. What chafes, to me, is the fact that people act as if we have a free market system, and use not upsetting the free market as an argument against any particular policy when it suits their needs, without acknowledging that the system is already so hybridized it is useless to talk about the American free market. And it distresses me that this tends to break down in a way such that impositions on the market structure are always opposed “for free market reasons” when it involves some sort of remuneration to those with material need, but not towards, for example, the breathtaking number of government structures and government expenditure that goes into making Walmart capable of profit. Markets are never free in this system, and what I’d ask for is more of an acknowledgment that, when people use the term “free markets” as a battle axe, they are never using it consistently or accurately.

    In a sense, I’m saying just the same thing that Will Wilkinson said recently: I’m just like everyone else, endorsing some sort of a mixed economy. Where I differ from Will is merely in what exactly the proportion of the mixture should be. Strange as it may be to hear, I think that I have more respect for markets than my interlocutors here. People tend to treat markets as having great power but incredible fragility. But I think they’re extraordinarily adaptable, and there’s plenty of international examples with a larger social safety net and yet a robust market system.

    I don’t know, perhaps I’m naive… I really do believe in the human capacity of ingenuity, and I think there’s room to use markets as an incredible tool, while still recognizing that there is a difference in kind between the preference for what you want to buy and the need for the minimal tangible goods necessary for human life.Report

    • Avatar Dan H. in reply to Freddie says:

      Freddie,

      You’re right to emphasize the mixed economy we have here and I don’t think anyone here would dispute that. We’re always talking about more free or less free markets not free markets and a world without markets. This may be rhetorically important, or interesting, or significant, but as a matter of actual policy and issues I’m not sure it matters.

      State intervention into the market will always have consequences which will compromise the efficiency of that market. FULL STOP.

      Now, what are “the minimal tangible goods necessary for human life” (This I’m not taking literally because I think you have more in mind then this. I think it’s the minimum to live with some sort of dignity)?

      I think this is an important place to start this conversation. You can’t advocate trading market freedom in the abstract for security, necessities, or whatever, in the abstract without inviting the rhetorical moves you dislike.

      We’ve got to have a conversation about the human needs we think are too important to leave to the market. We’ve got to talk about what the fulfillment of those needs will cost. Then we’ve got to talk about the effects those costs will have on market efficiency and if they are worth it.Report

    • Avatar willybobo in reply to Freddie says:

      This is an essential point: “Markets are never free in this system, and what I’d ask for is more of an acknowledgment that, when people use the term “free markets” as a battle axe, they are never using it consistently or accurately.”

      William’s use of the term preference patterns hints at this. No markets are truly free to respond to aggregate preferences. We always structure markets in some way to privilege what we think preferences ought to be. We set some preferences off limits, like child pornography or trafficking in human beings. The rules we create for markets are always descended from a set of morals. But we aren’t good at acknowledging that and publicly reckoning with it; it’s near impossible to have conversations that start from, “Which morals should dictate the structure of our markets?” But in the end, that’s what the argument is always about — in which ways should we privilege the market towards incentivizing people to value more of the things we think they ought to but aren’t likely to value enough on their own, and in which ways should we privilege the market to discourage people from demanding too much of what we think is bad for society.Report

    • Avatar Surf in reply to Freddie says:

      Doesn’t this just take us back to the point that Free Enterprise — though an ingenious value creation device — isn’t a good approach to all our problems? After all, it is a great way of allowing people to specialize in value creation and then create even more value via voluntary exchange. But it isn’t a good system for understanding the gaseous atmosphere of Jupiter or to decide which Basketball team is best or to take care of invalids.
      There are other systems — Science, organized sports and welfare/charity/etc to take care of problems in these other domains. Expecting a system great in one domain to work in another is kind of silly.
      The key is to work to solve non-economic problems in ways that don’t destroy the Free Enterprise system (or science or whatever).Report

      • Avatar William Brafford in reply to Surf says:

        “Expecting a system great in one domain to work in another is kind of silly.”

        If everyone agreed that the problem of providing for basic human need was a distinct domain, there would be no problem. It’s just that you don’t have to look very far to find folks asserting that free enterprise is in fact the best way to handle social problems. In other words, it can be tough to delineate domains the domains in which systems are supposed to operate.Report

        • Avatar Surf in reply to William Brafford says:

          Well said, William,

          Taking your point further, I would say that there is an expectation in the domain of Free Enterprise that people take care of their own needs by entering the “game” and producing value of their own to exchange. This is often a good and productive solution. But, what happens if they are unable to participate, for physical, mental, historic or cultural value reasons? There needs to be domains of problem solving outside of Free Enterprise that handle these issues, and yet that do so in ways that don’t undermine the incentives of the other domains.
          But this just loops back that Freddie’s 3rd objection is reducible back to the 1st objection. The supposed moral failure of Free Enterprise to solve all suffering comes from expecting it to solve problems for those unable to enter or “play well.” After all, Free Enterprise doesn’t create hunger and poverty — that condition is endemic to living beings born into an entropic universe.
          The supposed moral objection to Free Enterprise rests on expecting the domain to solve problems which it is unable to handle.Report

  9. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Dork alert! I am going to talk about Vampire: The Requiem.

    This is the “sequel”, of sorts, to Vampire: The Masquerade. They revamped a bunch of stuff… now we only have five clans but, instead of Camarilla, Sabbat, and Anarchs, they have five different covenants. I want to talk about the Carthians.

    When flipping through the book, one thing leapt out at me. When they were talking about political systems and vampire governance and whatnot, the basic assumption was that “this system is going to fail, it will collapse in upon itself, it will not, repeat will *NOT* last forever” and that led to the question “what can we do to prevent this coming collapse and prolong sustainability?”

    The basic assumption was that things were going to crash because everything crashes.

    This was an insight that was so crazy that you’d only find it in a White Wolf book.

    I reckon it’s accurate, though.Report

    • Avatar Freddie in reply to Jaybird says:

      I used to really like an RPG from Palladium games called “Nightspawn,” only then Todd McFarlane threatened to sue, so they changed it to the even worse title of “Nightbane.” Still the setting was really cool.

      Never played it, though. Never really played any RPGs, except for a very few one shot deals. The sad fact is that I read tons of D&D books as a kid but never, ever played. Which in a sense gives me the cover to be cool and say I never played D&D, but when you think about it is much, much nerdier.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Freddie says:

        Ease your way back into it with a board game called “Descent”.

        If you dig descent, think about getting back into 4th.

        Your local game shoppe, if they’re smart/evil, will have a scheduled game night where you will be welcome to go in and play one of the games available for purchase. Find out!Report

      • Avatar ThatPirateGuy in reply to Freddie says:

        I’m 29 and my dnd game is run by my Beth and our last game session was last night. If one has free time it is never to late to start playing.Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *