Category Archives: Economics (Competition)

The economic means and the political means

Neil Lock

(Neil:s note: Another short section from a larger essay on bottom up and top down thinking.)

Next, I’ll look at the economic effects, which flow from bottom up and top down approaches. Why are these so important? Because almost everyone – even those with no interest in politics – feels, very directly, the effects of problems in the economy.

I’ll begin with a longish quote from the book The State (first published 1908, English edition 1922) by the German philosopher Franz Oppenheimer:

“There are two fundamentally opposed means whereby man, requiring sustenance, is impelled to obtain the necessary means for satisfying his desires. These are work and robbery, one’s own labor and the forcible appropriation of the labor of others…

I propose in the following discussion to call one’s own labor and the equivalent exchange of one’s own labor for the labor of others, the ‘economic means’ for the satisfaction of needs, while the unrequited appropriation of the labor of others will be called the ‘political means.’

What Oppenheimer is telling us is that using the economic means is very different from using the political means. For, think what happens when we buy shoddy goods or services in a free market. If we don’t like what we get, we can look for, and at need switch to, another supplier next time. Better, even if we don’t ourselves go so far as changing supplier, other people switching will give our supplier a strong incentive to clean up its act.

But when the state provides shoddy tax funded services – like justice or education – then often it’s impossible to switch. And even when the state doesn’t actually prohibit competitors from providing a similar service, it’s still hard to change to non-state suppliers. For example, those who can’t afford private schools for their children, and don’t have the time or resources to homeschool, are in effect locked into the state indoctrination system.

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Liberals should retake their word which was stolen, and junk the word “Libertarian” which sounds awfully nasty and is unspellable by “young people”

David Davis

I’ve been thinking about the meanings of words, for about 100 years now (I was born on 4th August 1914 as you all know.)

While “libertarian” means “some sort of   “/*.-arian”   [ – remember DOS anyone?]   who is kind of in favour of individual liberty (that is to say; about choosing this or that course of action and so on, within any agreed legal framework that acknowledges that power), we are now where we are, in a hegemonic climate that’s deeply deeply hostile to any form of nonconformity with the prevailing and “agreed” terms of public discourse. “Anarchists” of the leftoNazi (the only kind of Nazi) persuasion are however tolerated positively and actively, because they are exactly the opposite of what they say. They are “social”, in fact. (See/google “Enoch Powell” + “social” + “word” + “opposite meaning” .)

I have decided that one reason why “libertarians”, such as we here, have got absolutely nowhere in the last 40 years, during which time we should have creamed the World, is that our word for ourselves is an “intellectual” one, and means nothing positive – and indeed has potentially negative connotations – to nearly all people, which is to say about 7 billion. There are perhaps 250,000 people on this planet who actually know what it means in reality, and most of them are opposed academics (Nazis), leftoidNazi journos, or career-politicoNazis. This is not a good place to begin from, to get where we want to go.

We should retake the word “LIBERAL”. Here I promote a comment from Ian B, as follows:- Read more

What’s Wrong With Asking What’s Up With Russia?

Ilana Mercer

Franklin Delano Roosevelt is not the man to quote in support of the market economy. He was, after all, the president who gave America the assault on free-market capitalism known as the New Deal. He also capitulated to communism at Yalta, 70 years ago. There, in February of 1945, he and Winston Churchill met with Joseph Stalin, a genocidal butcher who dwarfed Adolf Hitler, to divvy up the world.

By the time the “Big Three” convened in the Crimean city, the region had long been subdued and decimated by the Bolsheviks. In November and December of 1920 alone, Crimea had been the site of a massacre of 50,000 souls. Kulaks, Cossacks, Ukrainians; priests, White Guards, socialists, nobles, Mensheviks and bourgeoisie: Entire groups had been branded as counterrevolutionaries-by-class, designated as sub-humans worthy of extermination. That is if the Reds’ revolutionary utopia was to come into being, which it did.

For simply being who they were or if caught talking out of turn, anyone in communist Russia could be made “a head shorter,” in Trotsky’s “delightful” turn-of-phrase.

Why, Roosevelt and Churchill had just missed the deportation, in 1944, of the Crimean Tartars. According to “The Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression”—that “800-page compendium of the crimes of communist regimes worldwide”— “of the 228,392 people deported from the Crimea, 44,887 had died after four years.” Still, the Anglo-American leaders saw fit to sit down with Stalin to “map out the postwar world,” ceding Eastern Europe to “Uncle Joe,” FDR’s affectionate moniker for the communist mass murderer.

In fairness, Churchill does not deserve to be lumped with FDR as an appeaser and enabler of ultimate evil. Churchill was avowedly anti-communist. He detested Stalin. For this very reason, FDR considered Churchill a “reactionary … an old incorrigible imperialist, incapable of understanding [Stalin’s] ideological idealism.” Against the wishes of Winston Churchill did Roosevelt agree to “give Stalin what was not his to give,” noted historian Paul Johnson, in his “History of The American People.” Churchill went along with FDR because he was desperate for American financial support.

Like many pseudo-intellectuals of his time, explained Johnson, Franklin Roosevelt was “grotesquely Stalinist.” Against all evidence to the contrary, he regarded the Soviet Union as Read more

A Theoretically Incoherent Critique of the Free Market

Kevin Carson
A Theoretically Incoherent Critique of the Free Market

As a libertarian masochist who keeps up with the regular by-the-numbers attacks on libertarianism at Alternet and Salon, I almost dared to hope for something at least marginally better from Robert Kuttner at The American Prospect (“The Libertarian Delusion,” Winter 2015). I was disappointed.

“The stubborn appeal of the libertarian idea persists,” Kuttner writes, “despite mountains of evidence that the free market is neither efficient, nor fair, nor free from periodic catastrophe.”

But before you can evaluate what the “free market” can or cannot do, or how well it performs, you have to have a coherent idea of what the free market is. Kuttner never attempts an explicit definition; he just implicitly judges the free market by the performance of the capitalist system we actually live under. That’s an understandable approach, given that apologists for corporate capitalism universally couch their defense of the present system of power as a defense of “our free market system.” Read more

Whose nation is it really?

D J Webb

We are not lone individuals engaged in a struggle against nature, but social animals, who have our individual rights to liberty in a free country, but who are nevertheless part of a wider society, culture and economy. We have the right to expect the support of the society around us, which is why we also have the duty to uphold it to the extent that it protects us from the depredations of nature and wild animals and the bad behaviour of other human beings. Society is not meant to be a war of all against all, but a coming together of human beings in a way that promotes the good of each of them.

This is not a majoritarian concept. Society does not exist to promote the good of the majority at the expense of a minority. It ought to hold real benefits for every single member of the polity. This is the reason why the nation-state is important in terms of social freedom: the natural bands and connections of a real society—cultural ties—allow for greater latitude to individual freedom in a nation-state than does the creation of a “society” of warring cultural groups constantly intervened in by a lumpen bureaucracy that seeks social division and conflict as the price of its sinecurist monopolisation of social revenues.

Nations vs. nationalities

Nations are not artificially created: a European directive announcing that all Europeans were henceforth to be considered a single nation would not make it so. Read more

Libertarianism, Natural Order, Property and Law

David Davis (the text comprises comments by Ian B lifted from thread on this line.)

I think the visual presentation needs a bit of work… (Ian was referring to the first LA “Question Time” here.)

Just as I am listening, I have paused the playback to type this, we start with John Kersey offering that libertarianism and conservatism are not ideologies, but socialism is. Instead he offers that the first two in some way reflect a natural order. I find this problematic.

Everyone tends to think, or likes to think, that their own preferences and beliefs are natural ones; just “plain common sense”. Socialists believe this too, as do progressives. The natural feeling is that when confronted with something else, that the other thing is artificial, a corruption, distortion or perversion (or just plain barmy) so that in promoting one’s own values one is not simply another competitor, but rather one is “revealing the truth” or “revealing that which lies beneath”- i.e. the natural order.

For instance, many socialists- going back to old beardies like Keir Hardie- have opined not unreasonably that property ownership is an invention and not part of the natural order. They too see (and saw) their socialist project as returning man to a more natural state- perhaps most overtly today we see this with the Green Left – stripping away the artifice of modernity.

I really don’t think this will do. The basic human “evolved” lifestyle is to live in a small tribal band, have a collective territory and a few scraps of personal property; resolve disputes by direct and frequently fatal violence; marry most girls to the tribe’s alpha males right after puberty; consider anyone outside the tribe to be not Read more

Monopoly and Aggression

Sheldon Richman

Monopoly and Aggression

The concepts monopoly and aggression are intimately related, like lock and key, or mother and son. You cannot fully understand the first without understanding the second.

Most of us are taught to think of a monopoly as simply any lone seller of a good or service, but this definition is fraught with problems, as Murray Rothbard, Austrian economists generally, and others have long pointed out. It overlooks, for example, the factor of potential competition. If a lone seller knows that someone could challenge his “monopoly” by entering the market, that will tend to influence the seller’s pricing and service policies. Is he then really a monopolist even if, for the time being, he’s alone in the market? Read more

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