RE: Property [was Re: The Education Function]

Webb_S (
Tue, 15 Dec 1998 12:41:32 -0500 wrote:

> The question is not "which system is perfect", but "which system works".
> This is the contention on the table: by overwhelming evidence as well as
> theory, market freedom works (best), and no alternative works (nearly as
> well).

Market freedom is the most effective means for achieving libertarian goals. It is not necessarily the best means for achieving other goals, such as communalism or equality. These alternative goals are equally valid, though perhaps unpalatable or even abhorrent to a libertarian.

A laissez-faire approach to economics does not necessarily translate well to other societies with different views of freedom, personal responsibility, society, etc. In Russia and many SE Asian countries, for example, global capitalism looks rather like a dismal failure at the moment.

>> If you really cared about people you wouldn't advocate forcing them, at >> gunpoint, to comply with your idea of "help".

A bit of an exaggeration, eh? I live in DC and work for the government. Trust me, most government activities have nothing to do with force. Oh sure, at some abstract level the State could suddenly decide to ditch our constitutional rights and blow us away for non-conformance, but in the vast majority of transactions this possibility is so remote as to be negligible.

Now, if you want to talk rampant coercion in modern America, my exhibit A would be the control businesses have over their employees. To the average American, the government is some remote entity with which one interacts on April 15 and election day. One's boss, on the other hand, can very quickly and easily make one's life miserable if one fails to carry out his or her wishes.

To Samael you wrote:

> I'm going to be blunt: please study economics starting at the beginning.
> I'm afraid you've missed something important.

Without getting into Samael's understanding of economics, even a beginning economist recognizes the important distinction between positive and normative economics. It's one thing, for example, to state that some market outcome is Pareto optimal, but another thing entirely to say we should restructure our political and social systems to achieve said outcome.

Samael, Joe E. Dees, and others presumably don't disagree with the underlying economic theory, but do disagree as to how this theory should be brought to bear to solve social/political/economic problems.

While I don't necessarily agree with everything either Samael or Joe is saying, we must recognize that there are two sides to this story. Sure, governments do bad things, but so do businesses. Personally, I'm much more concerned about what my next (private sector) employer might do to me, or try to make me do, than I am about the guvmint.