Posts tagged ‘free markets’

“Pro-Business” is NOT Pro-Market

Instead of being “pro-business,” policy makers should aspire to be “pro-market,” eschewing both targeted punishment and targeted privilege.

‘Pro-Business’ Is Bad Business for the Middle Class, by Matthew Mitchell

Being “pro-business” is crony capitalism in disguise and rewards the Clerisy and the political class. Free markets are all about voluntary cooperation.

Continue reading ‘“Pro-Business” is NOT Pro-Market’ »

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Libertarian, Classical Liberal: Richard Epstein

Libertarians fall into two distinct groups: strict libertarians like Rand Paul and classical liberals such as myself. “Classical liberal” is not a term that rolls off of the tongue. Consequently, “libertarian” is the choice term in popular discourse when discussing policies that favor limited government. Libertarians of all stripes oppose President Obama’s endless attacks on market institutions and the rich. The umbrella term comfortably embraces both strands of libertarian theory vis-à-vis a common intellectual foe.

It is important to understand the differences in views between the strong libertarian and classical liberal position. Serious hard-line libertarian thinkers include Murray Rothbard and Karl Hess. Rothbard believes nonaggression is the sole requirement of a just social order. For Hess, “libertarianism is the view that each man is the absolute owner of his life, to use and dispose of as he sees fit.” There are large kernels of truth in both propositions. It is quite impossible to see how any social order could be maintained if there were no limitations against the use, or threatened use, of force to enslave or butcher other people, which Hess’s proposition of absolute self-ownership strongly counteracts.

Yet the overarching question is how does a group of people move from the Hobbesian “war of all against all” toward a peaceful society? Hess claims that stable institutions are created by “voluntary association and cooperation.” Again, strong libertarians are on solid ground in defending (most) private contracts against government interference, which is why Lochner v. New York (1905), reviled as it is by most constitutional thinkers, was right in striking down New York’s sixty hours per week maximum labor statute. Yet the hard-line libertarian position badly misfires in assuming that any set of voluntary contracts can solve the far larger problem of social order, which, as Rothbard notes, in practice requires each and every citizen to relinquish the use force against all others. Voluntary cooperation cannot secure unanimous consent, because the one violent holdout could upset the peace and tranquility of all others.

The sad experience of history is that high transaction costs and nonstop opportunism wreck the widespread voluntary effort to create a grand social alliance to limit the use of force. Society needs a coercive mechanism strong enough to keep defectors in line, but fair enough to command the allegiance of individuals, who must share the costs of creating that larger and mutually beneficial social order. The social contract that Locke said brought individuals out of the state of nature was one such device. The want of individual consent was displaced by a consciously designed substantive program to protect both liberty and property in ways that left all members of society better off than they were in the state of nature. Only constrained coercion can overcome the holdout problems needed to implement any principle of nonaggression.

The flat tax is preferred because it reduces private incentives to game the tax system and, likewise, the ability of government officials to unfairly target their opponents. The optimal theory of taxation minimizes the distortions created by the need to fund the government activities that maintain public order and supply infrastructure. The classical liberal thus agrees with the hard-line libertarian that progressive taxation, with its endless loopholes, is unsustainable in the long run. At the same time, the classical liberal finds it incomprehensible that anyone would want to condemn all taxes as government theft from a hapless citizenry. The hard-line libertarian’s blanket condemnation of taxes as theft means that he can add nothing to the discussion of which tax should be preferred and why. The classical liberal has a lot to say on that subject against both the hard-line libertarian and the modern progressive.

My Rand Paul Problem: Why classical liberalism is superior to hard-core libertarianism.

Acton Institute, Cato Institute

Wikipedia: Libertarianism | Classical Liberalism | Christian Libertarianism

Continue reading ‘Libertarian, Classical Liberal: Richard Epstein’ »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Free Will and Liberty

Tags: , , ,

Public Choice Explained by Michael Munger

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Free Markets and Voluntary Exchange are Awesome

“Nothing breeds vice like an attempt to promote virtue by force.”
Moman Pruiett (1927)

I, Pencil

Competitive markets work so smoothly and silently that they fool us modern folk into thinking that the lives we lead are normal – fool us into thinking that poverty (rather than wealth) has causes; fool us into supposing that people my age (almost 55), because we still have all of our teeth and aren’t remotely yet decrepit, are “middle-aged” rather than old, ancient, nearly dead by historical standards; fool us into believing that possession by each person of several changes of clean, washable clothes is the norm; fool us into imagining that living under a solid roof atop solid walls joined to solid floors is natural; fool us into forgetting that starvation and malnutrition were in store for distressingly large numbers of our ancestors . . . .

Capitalism Is Awesome

Free markets, voluntary exchange, freedom of association, freedom of speech, freedom of conscience – these are awesome.

The Free Market: What it is – What it Implies

“The real conflict in political theory … is not between individualism and community. It’s between voluntary association and coerced association.”
David Boaz

Continue reading ‘Free Markets and Voluntary Exchange are Awesome’ »

Tags: , , , ,

Teach Your Children Well (Teaching Instruction is an “Industry Of Mediocrity”)

Who Is Teaching Your Children? And What Is Being Taught?

Sure, professional athletes have a certain celebrity appeal, but can they really convince Americans to embrace a product that a growing number have already written off as a shit sandwich? But to really win hearts and minds … Hey! How about using the public schools to recruit their captive audience of students to the cause, and then set the kids loose to proselytize their families on the glories of Obamacare? That should work wonders.
. . .
So public school teachers get paid taxpayer dollars to preach Obamacare to their co-workers and the students, so the kids will then go home and sing the glories of the health scheme to the same taxpayers who are funding the whole process. Everybody wins!

If this experiment in using the public schools as a medium for spreading the good news works out as school officials and health insurance exchange managers hope, expect more in the future.

Los Angeles Public Schools Train Students as Obamacare Missionaries

Continue reading ‘Teach Your Children Well (Teaching Instruction is an “Industry Of Mediocrity”)’ »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Case Against Cronies and Crony Capitalism

It’s time for a free-market corporate social responsibility. Conservatives who rail against government hand-outs should also blast companies who seek shelter from Washington.
. . .
The Republican attack on President Obama’s economic policy has changed subtly, but significantly, in the last three years. In 2009, he was allegedly a “socialist” and a “Marxist” who lusted for government control of the entire economy. But lately, that has given way to more nuanced charges of “crony capitalism” — of giving special, friendly treatment to certain companies and industries, or allowing powerful corporations to essentially write the laws, themselves.
. . .
Voters despise government officials who get in bed with corporations. But what about corporations who cozy up to government? Are companies who use cronyism to grow their profit acting unethically?

The question makes some free-marketeers uneasy. After all, we not only tolerate the fierce pursuit of profit, but also we defend it against taxes and heavy-handed regulation. Milton Friedman famously said, “The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits.”

But in the age of crony capitalism, libertarians must declare that some means of pursuing profit are immoral and call on executives to reject them. This would create a positive case for capitalism — arguing that the pursuit of profit, in the context of fair and open competition, helps the whole society. The new corporate social responsibility, redefined for libertarians, must stand athwart crony corporatism yelling “stop.”

Continue reading ‘The Case Against Cronies and Crony Capitalism’ »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The New Deal, The Great Depression

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
George Santayana

The NIRA created monopolies and strengthened crony capitalism.

Where was Woodrow Wilson when we needed him?


Unfortunately, it seems that the future Aldous Huxley predicted in 1932, in Brave New World, is arriving early. Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. However, we do need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT) and to prosecute politicians and staff and their “family and friends” who profit from insider trading.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Manufacturing Jobs are Not Coming Back


Manufacturing output and productivity have risen, jobs are falling. Primarily because of technology: when manufacturing robots are more productive and more cost effective than humans, manufacturers buy robots.

Continue reading ‘Manufacturing Jobs are Not Coming Back’ »

Tags: , , , , ,

Life is not zero sum

Colonialism always costs the colonizing country more than it makes from the colonies.
Look at how people vote with their feet.
Life is not zero sum.
Incentives matter.

Tags: , , ,