Re: Libertarian Economics

Fred Foldvary (
Fri, 19 Sep 1997 11:17:53 -0700 (PDT)

On Fri, 19 Sep 1997, Richard Plourde wrote:

> At 11:26 PM 9/18/97 -0700, Fred Foldvary wrote:
> >Everything has a cause.
> >Why is poverty the natural state?
> >If I am dropped naked in a tropical island and can pick bananas
> >and coconuts, I am not poor.
> >The natural state of man in his natural state is natural wealth.
> Before making too many assumptions about "natural state," you
> might want to consider the world as it exists. A recent article
> in Scientific American ["Global Population and the Nitrogen Cycle"
> --Vaclav Smil, July 97) suggests, to me, that we cannot assume
> 'natural' sources of fixed nitrogen as sufficient to avoid
> starvation.

Obviously there is some ultimate limit to the global human population,
but it does not seem that poverty and hunger today are caused by
any lack of nitrogen. Rather it is war and government policy that
is causing starvation in the Sudan, North Korea, etc.

> ---------begin quotation--------
> Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man.

An unwarranted assertion. Where is the evidence?

> Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded -- here and there,
> now and then -- are the work of an extremely small minority,
> frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by
> all right-thinking people.

England in the 1400s had little poverty. The English farmer lived well.
Poverty came later, as a result of government policy.

> Whenever this tiny minority is kept
> from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a
> society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

Yes, if the general idea is that interventions create poverty.
But then the natural status, without intervention, is prosperity.

> --Robert A. Heinlein
An economics expert?

> ---------end quotation---------
> Richard Plourde ..

Fred Foldvary