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Garance Franke-Ruta’s March 8 article about the Mercatus Center at George Mason University (“Bull Market,” 3/8) was certainly an eye-opener. In recent years, GMU has won well-deserved praise for building up its program in the sciences, but I do not know what to say about an academic program (at a public university, too) dedicated to promoting ideology that favors plutocracy.

I, too, do not like wasteful public subsidies that support ineffective management, nor do I think brute-force regulation is the answer to every environmental problem. Unfortunately, we live in an advanced technological society with a bloated population vulnerable to disasters. Whether by intent or ignorance, the power of technology to do harm has become staggering. Governments must have the power to respond to problems if our society is not to retrench into feudalism.

Government can be a source of harm, but it is not the only source of harm. How ironic that on the day I read this article, I also read the discussion in Scientific American of the reinvention of slavery (real slavery in every sense of the word, not just sweatshop situations), mostly in countries where governments do not have the power or inclination to enforce their own laws. That is the great flaw in any plutocracy: Who stops the strong from devouring the weak?

Silver Spring, Md.