Friday, May 14, 2010

Why Libertarianism Doesn't Work

An interesting observation from Paul Krugman.

At its best, libertarianism fails to sufficiently appreciate the power producers hold over consumers (and, by extension, their government). At its worst, libertarianism is supportive of that power imbalance, and is nothing more than a philosophy of "might makes right," the cult of Ayn Rand.


Eric Schansberg said...

uhhh, no...Libertarianism opposes power over others-- whether through fraud, coercion (including significant monopoly power by a firm), or most often, coercion backed by government (e.g, unions and other interest groups).

el ranchero said...

And yet every attempt at regulation, no matter how reasonable, results in cries of "Big Government!" from the libertarians.

Apparently we have very different definitions of the word "oppose."

Anonymous said...

I agree. When Libertarians say they want "less government" what they mean is they want an environment where capital is free to expand and exploit without the state imposing "big government" regulation like, environmental protection and basic labor laws.

For a Libertarian, anything that might hold capital accountable for it's actions is "big government". History teaches us that capital cannot be trusted to be even handed when profits are at stake.

History also teaches us that the nature of capitalism tends to concentrate wealth into fewer and fewer hands. With increasing control and private ownership of the means of production comes increased power and influence.

Capitalism tends toward monopoly and with it monopolistic tendencies which include economic coersion to block credit, form cartels and control vast amounts of material and resources.

Libertarians extol the virtues of individualism and "freedom" while ignoring the economic coersive power that capital has. We see this already in a regulated economy!