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Equality or Flexibility?

Transactions costs are involved in most small-scale activities we engage in. Living in a country, and coping with its institutions, also involves transaction costs.
U.S. bureaucracies seem more flexible than the ones I’ve dealt with in wealthy foreign countries. On the other hand, much less seems to be taken care of for the average citizen in the U.S. than elsewhere-it requires tremendous knowledge and investment of time to get the best deal out of health insurance, Social Security and so many other publicly- or commonly-provided benefits. In wealthy foreign countries, the average citizen is not at much of a disadvantage compared to a knowledgeable, wealthier citizen. In the U.S., I wonder how the average guy can cope with institutions (or if he can). As in so many areas, we Americans have created a system that allows great flexibility, but that also advantages the better-off. Have we made the right choice in this apparent trade-off?