In Part II (Chapters 5-7), the authors look more closely at religion in the U.S. The go so far as to claim that
The American religious marketplace is almost a study in perfect competition: there are no real barriers to entry, the domestic market is big enough to support a mind-boggling variety of religious producers, and new religious entrepreneurs are always rising up to challenge incumbents. (P. 174)Think of this quote in light of my comments about Part I of the book. Remember from class that a public good is defined as a good that is non-rivalrous and non-excludable (a club good is non-rivalrous and excludable). If religion is a public good, why is it provided in such high supply by private suppliers? How can we have such a competitive religious marketplace for a public good? Is religion a public good? If so, how might religion be different from typical public goods that we think ought to be provided by government? If not, why not?