Re: Will the free market solve everything?
Mon, 24 Feb 1997 23:59:21 +0000

> From: Lee Daniel Crocker <>
> > He says, "Insofar as there is a dominant belief in our society
> > today, it is a belief in the magic of the marketplace. The
> > doctrine of laissez-faire capitalism hold that the common good is
> > best served by the uninhibited pursuit of self-interrest. Unless
> > it is tempered by the recognition of a common interest that ought
> > to take preference over particular interests, our present
> > system--is liable to break down."
> a) "The free market can solve problems like crime, poverty,
> defense..." b) "Government can solve problems like crime, poverty,
> defense..."
> Ask yourself which statement will get more agreement. Without
> question, the latter. So the "dominant belief" in society today
> is in government, not in the free market.
> (2) Since he postulates that those who believe in the free market
> say
> that it will magically solve all problems, and they are clearly
> wrong, he asserts that government is superior. First, he offers
> no evidence that capitalists actually believe that, or that the
> conditions he describes (like "inequality") are actually problems,
> or that the free market's failures are more or fewer than
> government's, only that it isn't perfect. Well Duh. Life's a
> bitch. What else is new?

He never claimed that anyone believes the marketplace can solve
all problems, nor even that they believe that it can solve even one
of the problems you use as an example, nor even that inequity is
a problem except when taken to extremes. In your attempt to show
that the quoted author had presented a straw man fallacy, you
presented a textbook example yourself.

That the author committed a straw man fallacy is logically
unsupportable within the context of the information that was given
in the original post. He was perhaps given to a bit of
exaggeration, (Libertarians may not see government intervention as
the "ultimate" evil) but I think that claiming this as evidence of a
straw man fallacy would be reaching. However, that you committed a
straw man fallacy is logically irrefutable. No additional
information required.

Have you allowed your emotional attachment to your beliefs interfere
with your ability to reason?

> And to top it all off, he sneaks "our present system" into the last
> sentence, as if to suggest that our present system is capitalist!
> This is one of the most thoroughly despicable essays I've read in a
> long time.

You are picking nits and evading the real issue. He did not claim
that it is 100% capitalist. But it is more capitalistic than
anything else, so to apply a single word to it without having to
state percentages or produce some otherwise unecessarily belabored
qualification, "capitalist" is a reasonably accurate description. If
you find rational argument to be so "dispicable", then perhaps you
need to be offended more often.

William Kitchen

The future is ours to create.