Reason.tv: "Markets Not Capitalism," Says Professor Gary Chartier

"The kind of economic arrangements that we see in our world today, which are dominated by cronies of those with state power, that's not the kind of economic arrangement that anyone who believes in freedom ought to favor," says Gary Chartier, associate dean at La Sierra School of Business and co-editor of the new book Markets Not Capitalism: Individualist Anarchism Against Bosses, Inequality, Corporate Power, and Structural Poverty.

Chartier, who co-edited the book along with Charles W. Johnson, sat down with Reason.tv's Zach Weissmueller to discuss why libertarians should stop embracing the word "capitalism," why there's reason to take the concerns of the political Left seriously, and why the economic system in the United States does not even begin to resemble a free market. 

"If we want freedom, it's something to be achieved," says Chartier. "It's not a matter of celebrating what we have now. It's a matter of making something dramatically different and exciting happen." 

Approximately 8 minutes.

Shot by Paul Detrick and Alex Manning; edited by Zach Weissmueller.

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  • Gojira||

    From the Amazon description of their book:

    ...rooted equally in libertarian socialism and market anarchism.

    I'm not sure what "libertarian socialism" means.

  • Tony||

    It means something a lot more coherent than libertarian capitalism, which simply trades government (democratic) authority for managerial (autocratic) authority. Once one realizes that the vast majority of people in a capitalist "free" market spend their days in mini-dictatorships working to a small degree for their own sustenance but mostly to line the pockets of oligarchs, one begins to wonder just what one was so upset about with respect to government.

    Some versions of libertarianism are indistinguishable from communism in principle. Which is why I am so skeptical--it's easy to turn purist systems that favor liberty in principle into hellish autocratic regimes. That's the problem with purist systems--the purity becomes the point, rather than human well-being.

    What is called libertarianism today is just Reaganesque cliches that support the status quo in capitalism and all attempts to make it more oligarchic.

  • Capitalism = Cronyism||

    So-called "free" markets rely on much aggression that free market fundamentalists turn a blind eye to.

  • o3||

    Tony & WI sitting in a tree...

  • Jeffersonian||

    A convergence of fuckheads.

  • White Indian loves little boys||

  • yonemoto||

    government (democratic) authority

    Clueless.

  • Sevo||

    Shithead writes:
    Tony|2.13.12 @ 12:56PM|#
    ..."Once one realizes that the vast majority of people in a capitalist "free" market spend their days in mini-dictatorships working to a small degree for their own sustenance but mostly to line the pockets of oligarchs,..."

    Shithead, as a pitiful excuse for a moral agent, never learned that people have choices.
    Shithead thinks his miserable life is forced upon him.
    Shithead is an ignoramus.

  • Kevin Carson||

    Shithead2 never realized that "people have choices" is a tautology, and that even "your money or your life" or "$10k for a glass of water or die of thirst in the desert" is a choice. Shithead2 never learned that the real question is whether the range of choices is artificially constrained by collusion between employers and the state.

  • Sevo||

    "Shithead2 never learned that the real question is whether the range of choices is artificially constrained by collusion between employers and the state."

    Yes, shithead junior, we are all forced to works someplace, right?
    Trying for the shithead gold, are you?

  • ||

    Is your claim, then, that the range of choices is not artificialy constrained by collusio between employers and the state? Do you deny the existence of corporate welfare and of regulations favoring large firms?

  • Gojira||

    Of course that's still a choice. You don't have a right for water to be provided to you merely because you exist. If the only water available costs $10k, and you don't have that, then guess what? That's your problem.

  • yonemoto||

    it's okay. The libertarian socialists will take care of the problem by inflating the dollar to where $100k buys you a stick of gum, so $10k is nothing. Everyone will have a 'living wage' of $10M/year.

  • Maxxx||

    Libertarians really need to stop indulging in idiotic parables like this.

    Has any, ever, been offered the choice of paying $10K for a bottle of water in the desert or dying of thirst

  • Uncle Pfizer||

    Ever watch Blue Gold

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Rand had something to say about people who engaged in "lifeboat ethics", and that something wasn't flattering.

  • Gojira||

    *shrugs* He brought it up, and I was responding. Of course I don't think that scenerio would ever actually happen short of some kind of civilization-ending event, but I always felt like it was a complete dodge to just say, "Well I don't need to respond to that because it's unlikely ever to happen." One should be secure enough in one's beliefs to answer even stupid questions with confidence.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    It tells you all you need to know about the person raising the argument, however. It is the same strain of individual who brings up "THE CHILDREN" all the time - it's a direct appeal to basest instincts.

  • Gojira||

    Completely agree. Like when someone says, "Well anarchism can't work because I'd just be raping and killing people all the time", I say that speaks more to the person making the statement than it does to the ideas they're arguing against.

  • Zeb||

    Yeah. That guy is going to get shot before he does too much raping and killing in anarchy-land.

  • Thom||

    It's also the problem of the person with the water once somebody bigger comes along. When faced with dying of thirst or fighting, most people aren't going to be very respectful of property rights.

  • Sam Grove||

    It's also the problem of the person with the water once somebody bigger comes along. When faced with dying of thirst or fighting, most people aren't going to be very respectful of property rights.

    The state is everybody's biggest bully.

  • yonemoto||

    actually, "your money or your life" is not really a free market choice, is it. Everyone dies, though. In a free market society, if you don't like the terms of your death and can't afford avoiding it, you can always beg other people to help finance your selfishness, and there is a chance that they will agree that you deserve it.

    In a 'libertarian socialism' I presume, the government decides if you deserve the ultimate act of selfishness (life extension)

  • Tony||

    Here's a premise: If everyone can be granted the right to life in a system, any system that does not grant that right to all is morally inferior to one that does.

    Besides, what you mean is that people don't have a right to life, but they do have a right to police, courts, and contract law to enforce their claim to property. It makes no sense morally or otherwise. It's just a system that protects property owners' needs and ignores any other types of need.

  • Tak Kak||

    Failed premise.

    You don't have a right to life, given the fact that you will eventually die.

  • Tony||

    Given that you will eventually die, I see no reason to pay taxes to protect your property rights. In fact, since you're going to eventually die, why am I not entitled just to shoot you now?

  • Sam Grove||

    Entitled how?

  • Tak Kak||

    I never said you have to pay taxes nor refrain from shooting me.

  • Tony||

    There's a reason libertarians emerge from engineering departments and not philosophy departments.

  • Tak Kak||

    Because engineers frequently make sense.

    And philosophers are nothing more than... philosophers.

  • CatoTheElder||

    Because engineers work in the real world.

    We don't waste time trying to engineer a world in which the laws of thermodynamics no longer apply or one in which everybody is altruistic.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    You have the right to life as you have the means to live it, to not be murdered, to not have shit taken from you. You do not have the right to be prevented from dieing at all costs. Obamacare agrees with the latter part.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Mr. Carson, what are some examples you can provide that do not echo primitivist criticisms with which we are all too familiar here? Because your "10,000 for water example" does, in fact, presuppose that you have the right to a thing simply because you were born, and that cannot be right.

  • Gojira||

    She also had choice things to say about libertarians.

  • Gojira||

    Sorry, that was supposed to be a reply to your comment above about Rand. But I appreciate the back-up in saying that people are not owed anything just because they may want it.

  • Tony||

    Then neither can the bureaucracy necessary to property rights enforcement be a birthright.

  • cw||

    Nobody said it was a birthright, just that it may be necessary to secure property rights.

  • Tony||

    So why can't we have what's necessary to secure a right to healthcare?

  • Sam Grove||

    So why can't we have what's necessary to secure a right to healthcare?

    Because that requires a negation of property rights.

  • Tony||

    How? By taxing? But you need taxes in order to have property rights in the first place. So do property rights negate themselves?

  • Tak Kak||

    Pure garbage. There has been property without taxes before. Even libertarian socialists have admitted that much.

  • ||

    But you need taxes in order to have property rights in the first place.

    No, you need taxes to have a government that will protect your property rights.

    I have no free-floating right to healthcare. Any right to healthcare that I might have arises from contract, when a healthcare provider agrees to sell me some. To protect that right, all I need is a court system that enforces contract rights. I'll pay taxes for that, too.

    You are confusing ends (healthcare) with means (the property that allows you to purchase healthcare, and the contracts that allow you to receive what you have bought).

  • Tak Kak||

    I'm more than willing to remove the state from the equation. But that hardly implies the elimination of hierarchically organized firms, bosses and especially inequality.

    Plus, I'm still going to charge you $10K for the glass of water, but you'll have to use something better than fiat to pay.

    Yet, I'm only charging $10K because I'm a fan of yours.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Does libertarian socialism mean that the socialism would be completely voluntary then? Like, some kind of "marketplace" where I would have some kind of "freedom" to not socialize?

  • yonemoto||

    it's a socialism where you're forced to be free, by the definition of the really fucking smart people who decide for you what is free and what is not free. But they are really fucking smart, so you have no right to complain.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    What the hell is coherent about "libertarian socialism"? Specific policy- does it consistently favor more statism or more voluntary transaction?
    I don't believe that you have ever thought about a consistent form for policy, or a standard for establishing the role of government under "pure democracy". You just pick and choose shit that "sounds good", and you are happy with everything that progressives/statists enact.

  • Tony||

    You're almost right. I care less about consistency than outcomes--hence my comment about "purist" political philosophies. Any system that eschews concern for human well-being in favor of sticking to a foolish consistency is not one I consider worthy.

  • cw||

    Laws shouldn't be applied consistently, just what produces the best social outcome, right?

  • Tony||

    Certainly there's a strong utilitarian case for applying laws consistently, and I can't think of one for not doing so.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    I am completely right. You don't give a fuck, you just want what you want. You have no standard to determine right from wrong. If it looks like someone is going to be "helped", it must be good. The ends justify the means. You are the one who eschews concern for well being, by subjecting their own choice to your arbitrariness. Faggot.

  • Tony||

    I presume that the best possible system has yet to be found, yes, and that to improve upon our system requires trial and error. Anyone who claims otherwise is a stupid dogmatist. But you know that, since you wouldn't resort to bigoted name calling if you had a decent argument.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    The best system evolved naturally, which we refer to as "rights". People doing as they wish, acknowledging that directly harming others leads to bad personal outcomes, like being harmed back.

  • cw||

    That's why libertarianism is actually one of the best political philosophies when it comes to practicality.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Shithead.

  • Jeffersonian||

    What Tony is advocating is, for all practical purposes, a dictatorship and hopes it'll be benign.

  • Sam Grove||

    foolish consistency

    Tell us about foolish consistency. Who decides what is foolish, and how do they do it?

  • Tony||

    In this case I'd consider it foolish if it's done for its own sake without concern for human well-being.

    Libertarianism is an obsessive compulsive political purification ritual. The less government the better. It's nonsense and completely misses the point of why politics exists in the first place.

  • cw||

    Modern liberalism believes central planning can maximize human well-being and philosopher-kings exist who can decide what's best for everyone.

    See, I can write just like you did.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    In what way is utilitarianism not purist? Does it say "you should seek to maximise utility... except sometimes"?

  • Tony||

    Utilitarianism can certainly be dogmatic, but it does have going for it the fact that human well-being is its central concern. I prefer pragmatism, which is very similar.

  • Tak Kak||

    Human well-being is the central concern of liberertarianism, and most other political philosophies.

  • Tony||

    But it defines well-being radically differently. It only concerns itself with liberty, which as everyone else knows is not the totality of human well-being.

  • Tak Kak||

    "But it defines well-being radically differently"
    No, not in the slightest, well-being from a socialist, libertarian, and utilitarian paradigm are fundamentally the same.
    "It only concerns itself with liberty, which as everyone else knows is not the totality of human well-being."
    It concerns itself with liberty, just as socialism concerns itself with power, liberty is seen as the source of well-being, not the totality.

  • Tony||

    How does socialism concern itself with power? Okay fine, liberty is the "source" of well-being. Except libertarianism is simply too radical about it. My liberty to steal your stuff, you might argue, decreases your well-being. So liberty and well-being are not always compatible. Once you understand that, I think something like socialism inevitably follows, but you're free to try to convince me why not.

  • Tak Kak||

    It's entire organization is around centralized control of the means of production.

    "Okay fine, liberty is the "source" of well-being. Except libertarianism is simply too radical about it. My liberty to steal your stuff, you might argue, decreases your well-being. So liberty and well-being are not always compatible."

    Perhaps not yours or mine in particular, but human well-being yes. (Which is exactly like utilitarianism and socialism, by the way). Just as you have the liberty to steal, I have the liberty to defend. And the game naturally leads to more and morecooperation simply out of self-interest.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tiny,

    Okay fine, liberty is the "source" of well-being. Except libertarianism is simply too radical about it.


    ".... Because then it cannot know the delights and exquisite pleasures of bondage."

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    it does have going for it the fact that human well-being is its central concern

    Well, that's just a statement of what utilitarianism is, for certain values of "human well-being" (what the value of "human well-being" is is what the study of ethics is about). That's like saying "libertarianism has going for it the fact that liberty is its central concern" or even "egoism has going for it the fact that my well-being is its central concern" - you have to assume your conclusion to even make the argument. You're going to have to unpack "pragmatism" for me as well - I've always thought of pragmatism as having it's original meaning of "it's true if it's useful" - i.e. an epistemic standard, not an ethical philosophy. I'm struggling to think what it could possibly mean given that "useful" is appealing to a normative standard to begin with.

  • Tony||

    That is the big question for utilitarians. What does utility (and well being) consist of? I believe that the answer is not totally arbitrary (as many normative systems are), although there can be reasonable disagreement at the margins. Humans do have universal basic needs, though, as a result of their specific natures.

    The school of pragmatism (America's greatest contribution to philosophy) is about assessing the truth of theories in terms of practical application. It's essentially scientific skepticism applied to philosophy and politics.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Well, that's the definition of pragmatism I gave - I still don't see how you apply it to ethics. I also can't agree with your characterisation of scientific scepticism - saying that a theory must make accurate predictions to get our attention is not quite the same as saying that it must be instrumentally useful.

    I believe that the answer is not totally arbitrary (as many normative systems are), although there can be reasonable disagreement at the margins. Humans do have universal basic needs, though, as a result of their specific natures.

    This is an example of running away from the question. If you say that, for example, food is a universal basic need, the obvious question is going to be "so what happens if people don't get food?" The answer is they die. This indicates that it's not the food that we value - that there is not a huge mass of utility associated with the food itself - but rather people not dying. Most people agree that that's something to be valued, but it's not immediately obvious that it's more valuable than, say, having the right to not go to jail for the crime of insufficient altruism.
    The other objection to that view, which doesn't apply to libertarianism, is what the hell do people mean when they're talking about a universal utility function? I have a utility function, you have one, and they obviously don't agree (I'd rather almost any randomly chosen dollar was in my pocket than yours, for example). How do you go about aggregating diverse preferences?

  • Tony||

    Yeah we have to agree at least on a few basic constituents of utility. But that's true for any system, and any system will not account for every individual utility function, including a libertarian one. Some may not value liberty at all, and few actually value maximum liberty.

    Wealth, though, is totally measurable, and a good stand-in for utility. Thus generally, a transfer of wealth from the wealthy to the poor increases overall utility. Libertarianism isn't concerned with utility here, it's concerned, as far as I can tell, with keeping wealth exactly where it is, if not transferred even more to the wealthy. I don't accept that libertarianism is coherent, so I think its ethics tend to favor that outcome even if its tenets are inconsistent.

    And your arbitrary utility function is flawed: you should prefer a dollar from my pocket over any randomly chosen one, as I am a borderline compulsive hand washer.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    But this is the thing that I've explained before and you keep failing to understand: libertarians aren't taking the same strategy to answer the question as utilitarians are, and arriving at a different answer. The strategy itself is different. Utilitarians have to aggregate diverse utility functions in order to decide which outcomes are human-desirable (rather than individual-desirable). Libertarians generally don't think this makes sense - like adding five apples to ten oranges and saying "I've got fifteen oranges". The libertarian solution is to not define the win-condition of the game, just the acceptable moves within it. When someone says to a libertarian "I don't value liberty", there's a genuine values-difference, but libertarians expect genuine values-differences, so it's not really a problem. It is a problem for utilitarians, though, because they don't know how to weight different desires.

    Wealth, though, is totally measurable, and a good stand-in for utility.

    Wow, do I ever disagree with that. Which commodity are you going to choose to measure wealth against? You have to choose just one, because exchange rates between commodities fluctuate. And whatever answer you come up with, you're still going to have the problem of setting the value of wealth against different utility functions.

    Libertarianism isn't concerned with utility here, it's concerned, as far as I can tell, with keeping wealth exactly where it is, if not transferred even more to the wealthy.

    Well, no, libertarians generally don't give the first half-damn about equality. And yes, as everyone gets richer the richest are likely to get richer faster, increasing inequality. So what? Most human interactions are positive-sum games - people aren't generally hurt by wealth differentials according to their own utility function (unless their utility function has a big term for envy).

    I don't accept that libertarianism is coherent

    What's incoherent about it?

  • Tony||

    The strategy thinks it's different, but it's not. You have to make the claim that maximum individual liberty is useful (i.e., something to be valued), which is to say maximum individual liberty = maximum utility. That's clearly false, and if you believe in having law enforcement then you agree that it's false.

    You may not agree with the concept of a society, but you're still imposing a certain way of life on society, All anyone means by that is the individual lives of human beings, just described in a way that's measured.

    I didn't say wealth was a perfect measure of utility, but it's a damn useful one. It's one most people value, and has the function of providing for most of the other things people value.

    Yes the wealthy will always get wealthier at a faster rate, but that's no excuse for the status quo, and a 4% difference in tax rates is not the line between capitalism and oppression.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Money is not wealth. You are wealthy or you are not. Having more money does not make you more wealthy. Transferring someone's "utility" to someone without it over and over will never grant that person persistent utility.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Liberty does not encompass causing harm to others. So, yes, actual liberty and well being are perfectly compatible.

    Dishonest pussybitch.

  • Paul||

    It means something a lot more coherent than libertarian capitalism, which simply trades government (democratic) authority for managerial (autocratic) authority.

    How many divisions does Safeway have?

  • cw||

    I don't remember libertarians pining for managerial authority.

  • Stalin||

    Some versions of libertarianism are indistinguishable from communism in principle

    For instance, the good people of East Germany could have simply quit anytime they wanted, and moved west.

  • Sam Grove||

    Eventually, they did.

  • ||

    They didn't cross the border; the border crossed them.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tiny,

    Some versions of libertarianism are indistinguishable from communism in principle.


    In principle, we have us 2 million dollars. In reality, we have us a couple of whores in our home.

    By the way, in principle as well as in reality, libertarianism is anathema to communism. The differences are not at all subtle except for intellectual frauds such as yourself.

  • ||

    I'm not sure what "libertarian socialism" means.

    It means somebody is blowing smoke up your boxers to distract you from their hand on your wallet.

  • Robert||

    "Libertarian socialist" was a very popular self description 30 yrs. ago. For most it just meant some form of socialism without gulags, while for many it was more particular as a type of anarchism that was really a very decentralized democratic despotism.

  • rts||

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Libertarian_socialism

    Noam Chomsky is a noted "libertarian socialist". That was all I needed to know.

  • Gojira||

    From the wiki (annotations mine):

    Libertarian socialism is opposed to all coercive forms of social organization (good so far), and promotes free association in place of government (still good...) and opposes what it sees as the coercive social relations of capitalism, such as wage labor. (wage labor is coercive?! WTF!?)
  • ||

    The thoroughly discredited Labor Theory of Value rears its stupid head again.

  • el Commentariosa||

  • BakedPenguin||

    Given the vast amounts of data showing labor productivity is a function of capital investment, it's hard to believe in the intellectual honesty of anyone who could argue this.

  • Zeb||

    Do they say "marxian" now because "Marxism" sounds too evil?

  • Sam Grove||

    What does it matter what "not everyone" FEELS?

  • Maxxx||

    (wage labor is coercive?! WTF!?)

    Being a wage laborer generally sucks.

    I've been in business for going on two decades and there's no way in hell that I want to go back to being a wage employee instead of a free agent.

    Maybe, the gist of their position is that it would be better for society if a most people were free agents that traded (even their labor) on an ad hoc basis, instead of having supplicant-patron wage employment.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    This is a severely clumsy attempt to take "Something People Hate" and saying "libertarianism can solve that!"

    In the case of wage labor, we cannot solve that - this is the paradigm that exists: a day's wage for a day's labor is as old as the hills. The fact that entities outside of the control of States practice it, and have since Christ walked the earth, seems to be evidence that it is a natural state of affairs, although it needn't be the only one.

    This is a solution in search of a problem.

  • Maxxx||

    A majority of people engaged in a lifetime of wage labor with the rise of large corporations in 20th century, which is the result of government intervention.

    There's a long way between a days labor for a day's pay and working 40 years for one or two organizations that also provide your health care and retirement.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Well, yes, but that "40 years at one or two organizations" is pretty much a broken paradigm these days. Or, at least, it is actively cracking up right now.

  • Maxxx||

    It's cracking up in the private sector, but various public sectors have been more than filling the gap in the last couple of decades.

    It's ironic that the left was antagonistic to lifetime corporate employment in the 50s and now hold that same thing out as the ideal.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    I know - my first thought about that "40 years at one organization" was "the only people I know like that are state employees"

  • Bartholomew Roberts||

    Arg, I've prefered share labor.

    "To get rid of the disagreeable superiority of some masters peregrinations had accustomed me. In an honest Service there is thin Commons, low Wages, and hard labour; in this, Plenty and Society, Pleasure and Ease, Liberty and Power; and who would not balance Creditor on this side when all the Hazard that is run for it, at worst, is only a sour Look or two at choaking. No, A merry Life and a short one, shall be my Motto."--

    NO PREY NO PAY

  • yonemoto||

    have since Christ walked the earth

    More like Noah

  • Sevo||

    Maxxx|2.13.12 @ 1:42PM|#
    "Being a wage laborer generally sucks."
    Not to a lot of people; that steady income means they'll gladly trade a bit of freedom for it.

  • Gojira||

    I've been in business for going on two decades and there's no way in hell that I want to go back to being a wage employee instead of a free agent.

    I think I read that differently than you do. I believe they're talking about abolishing money. To me, anytime to do anything and receive money for it, you're a wage laborer, regardless of the specifics of your employment (owning a business or contracting v. working in a cube forest).

  • Maxxx||

    I didn't see anything in the video that would support that view. I agreed with what he did say, as far as it went.

    Tried ordering the book, but the don't have a kindle version.

    BTW why would any publisher not sell a kindle version of a newly published book?

  • Gojira||

    I can't watch the video, I was just going off of the reviews and description on Amazon, so I could easily be wrong here.

  • MJGreen||

    It is difficult to understand the urgency of the wage labor critique of the 19th century, because we already live in an industrialized world and wage labor has become the norm. For many people back then, however, wage labor didn't mean some innocent proposition like, "Why don't you come work my capital? I'll pay you well for it!" It was often, "Get off your long-held land, you lazy fucking peasants, and start working for the politically-connected capitalists!" You see that today in industrializing countries.

    Being against the concept of wage labor is pretty silly, but the criticism is usually something deeper than that. At least, the intelligent criticism is.

  • Tak Kak||

    The fact that people abandoned the farms and headed to the factories voluntarily show that wage labor has some appeal to some people. It certainly does have it's pro's and con's but how one is compensated is between the employeer and the employers.

  • ||

    Sometimes farmhands got tired of being so hungry. Working in factories was often a major step up for them.

  • MJGreen||

    Yes. Because their farms were taken away from them.

  • Sevo||

    MJGreen|2.13.12 @ 3:55PM|#
    "Yes. Because their farms were taken away from them."

    Cite?

  • Paul||

    Ahh yes, the wonderful idea of Mutual Aid.

    I seem to recall reading an article by one of these libertarian socialists that suggested that in the perfect society, each person, including the brain surgeon would spend some of his time sweeping floors, some of his time cooking meals, some of his time doing brain surgery, etc.

    The only thing absent from the discussion was who would enforce these rules? Answer: Democracy (which to the left is the goal, not a process to achieve freedom) would enforce them!

  • Contrarian P||

    And yet before the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid, physicians did render their services free of charge to the poor. It is generally seen as part of the obligation of the profession. There is still plenty of care that is provided that way.

  • Joe M||

    Please, everybody, do not read Wikipedia for information about libertarianism. It's a terrible source for that, as lots of leftists work tirelessly to distort libertarian articles.

  • Robert||

    That's your perspective, which results from there having been a bifurcation in the use of the term about 50 years ago. The leftists had it first, and AFAIK on the European continent, "libertarian" is still a euphemism for "anarchist", and "anarchist" usually means one of the left wing non-propertarian or limited-propertarian versions. the meaning you have in mind only became really popular in the USA; it has roots going back to the individualist anarchists of the 19th Century but was only popularized about 50 yrs. ago.

  • robc||

    If wikipedia was at .co.uk that might matter. But it isnt.

  • ||

    w[h]y libertarians should stop embracing the word "capitalism,"

    Because the people who invent such terms as "libertarian socialism" have stripped it of all meaning?

  • yonemoto||

    no, no this is a really good point that I try to say all the time. The solution, however, is not "libertarian socialism", which is stupidly "utopian" in exactly the way that liberals like to mistakenly rail against libertarians, versus the inherent pessimism and acknowledgement of the knowledge problem inherent in the philosophy that most adult libertarians embrace.

  • ||

    Actually wasn't kapitalism invented as a derogatory term for the free market?

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    This is the exact reason Rand said to embrace it. Sort of the reason that Dan Savage tried to take back "faggot" for so many years.

  • Maxxx||

    Actually wasn't kapitalism invented as a derogatory term for the free market?

    Rev. Blue Moon |2.13.12 @ 1:41PM|#
    This is the exact reason Rand said to embrace it.

    Was mid 19th century England more free market or crony capitalist?

    Seem more like the latter, what with state sponsored corporations founded by the gentry and nobility and that were promoted by the military.

  • ||

    Was that still considered to be mercantalism? Which I guess is just another form of crony capitalism, except usually tied with a monarchy.

  • ||

    Compared to what? Compared to the 18th and 20th centuries, it was more free market. Compared to the writings of market philosophers and political economists, it was more crony capitalist.

  • ||

    Next you'll be trying to take back term nerd...

  • MJGreen||

    Brad Spangler once commented:

    Which is more direct, a two-step process or a one-step process?

    A: 1) Convince people the status quo is not capitalism & 2) Convince people that "capitalism" in the sense of a freed market is the remedy to the status quo?

    -or-

    B: 1) Convince people that a freed market is the remedy to the capitalist status quo?

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    Their problem isn't with the term "capitalism" though. It's with what it represents. Changing the terminology means that you'll just get OWSers in ten years with "FREE MARKET FAT CAT" signs.

  • MJGreen||

    Well that's precisely the argument: that most people are not against property and free contract per se, they're against the status quo. Capitalism represents what we have right now, and neither us nor OWS want what we have now. We might convince more people by not associating our beliefs with capitalism.

  • cw||

    Why doesn't market meddling perfectly represent what we have now? Why use the term capitalism? Because OWS types call it capitalism?

  • Paul||

    Actually wasn't kapitalism invented as a derogatory term for the free market?

    I thought Kalifornia was a derogatory term for functioning government?

  • Robert||

    Actually according to Clarence Carson it was invented -- and reasonably means, if you go by the construction of similar words -- rule by capital or its owners.

  • MJGreen||

    Perhaps you should listen (? ...or read) to the argument first?

    Capitalism was not coined as something positive, even by supporters of the free market. The word also strongly implies exactly what critics of the market argue: that we believe the interests of those who amass capital should take precedence.

  • Rev. Blue Moon ||

    I, unfortunately, don't have the luxury to watch videos all day. If someone wants to do the Old Skool thing and write it out, I would be willing to read it and respond.

    Walking back from an embrace of capitalism as a term is to implicitly acknowledge that having capital is somehow bad, and in doing so, you think you can placate the Statists in their foolish criticisms. I neither accept their premises nor do I wish to pander.

  • ||

    Well said.

  • MJGreen||

    Walking back from it (we only embraced it long after it was a dirty word) explicitly acknowledges that our concern is with the rights of all people, not just capitalists. Surely most everyone here agrees with Reason's criticisms of eminent domain, even when displacing a couple of peasants may industrialize the area and stimulate economic activity?

    As for the argument, Sheldon Richman and I think Roderick Long have both written easy-to-digest op-eds on this. Chartier's essay from the book can be found here: http://c4ss.org/content/1738 As Chartier and Richman point out, Thomas Hodgskin, mentor to Herbert Spencer, used capitalist as a pejorative as early as 1792.

    The entire book is available for free on scribd, by the way.

  • ||

    Interesting, I didn't realize the term went back that far (especially as a pejorative). I always assumed Marx invented it or it was in the air around the time he wrote Das Kapital.

  • MJGreen||

    I always heard the same, but it gels with the common libertarian critique of Marx: that the capitalism he criticized was the prevailing mercantilist system, not laissez-faire. If 'capitalist' was understood as a politically-connected businessman, then it only makes sense for Marx to call the prevailing system 'capitalism.'

  • annonymous commenter some guy||

    In a truly free market, wouldn't everyone be a capitalist? Just with varying degrees of success? Libertarianism generally supports capitalism, the economic system. I don't see how that implies we preferentially support the "capitalist", however you choose to define it. (Is it an idealogical supporter of capitalism? Or just anyone who owns property?)

  • ||

    This.

    Capitalism is what you get when people are free to do what they want with their savings.

    Now, you may quibble with the way some societies actually go about it, but I'm guessing your quibbles will be with the way government puts its thumb on the scales.

  • ||

    This.

    Capitalism is what you get when people are free to do what they want with their savings.

    Now, you may quibble with the way some societies actually go about it, but I'm guessing your quibbles will be with the way government puts its thumb on the scales.

  • ||

    This.

    Capitalism is what you get when people are free to do what they want with their savings.

    Now, you may quibble with the way some societies actually go about it, but I'm guessing your quibbles will be with the way government puts its thumb on the scales.

  • ||

    Effing squirrelz.

  • Tony||

    Capitalism requires a specific set of government entitlements. It is no more naturally occurring than socialism, which requires another set of entitlements.

  • ||

    Capitalism requires a specific set of government entitlements.

    No, it only requires that government enforce property rights and contracts. You do understand that does not involve entitlements in any way, yes?

  • Tony||

    You mean it entitles you to government guns and jails... that's what "enforce" means. It is every bit as much an entitlement as anything else.

  • cw||

    Law enforcement is one of the few things government should do. Be even then it fucks it up in practice.

  • Tony||

    Says you. It's still taxing and spending. That is either immoral or it's not. Deciding what it spends the money on is politics.

  • Tak Kak||

    No, not necessarily taxing. Read Rand.

    However, government isn't necessary for capitalism, rather it's impossible to have both.

  • cw||

    As a minarchist I agree that taxing and spending is necessary to have a functioning government. It is still a form of stealing, though, and is another reason why gov. needs to be as limited as possible in both size and function.

  • ||

    Tony, so confused about just one little word: "entitlement".

    Sad, really, to build your entire political philosophy on such a small thing.

  • Tony||

    Funny, I was gonna say it's so sad to build your entire political philosophy on a misunderstanding of what entitlement means.

    An entitlement is a right to something. You are just confused because you let right-wing talking heads do all your thinking for you. There is no fundamental distinction between a property rights entitlement (as WI will say, it's right there in the word "title") and one to another service.

    You are confused (by the aforementioned talking heads) because what really pisses you off is dirty poor people being uppity. Intellectual consistency has nothing to do with what you believe.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Wrong.

    If I have to provide it, you don't have a right to it. That we may come together to defend those things we make and/or have, individually, is not license to start taking them from each other.

  • ||

    Walking back from it (we only embraced it long after it was a dirty word) explicitly acknowledges that our concern is with the rights of all people, not just capitalists.

    This seems to assume that we want capitalists to have rights that other people don't have.

    Which is false.

  • Sam Grove||

  • Konfounded Kristen||

    "It's not a matter of celebrating what we have now. It's a matter of making something dramatically different and exciting happen."

    No shit, Sherlock.

  • ||

    mostly to line the pockets of oligarchs

    Fucking capital investment- how does it work?

  • Tony||

    It works with the end goal being lining the pockets of the investors. You wouldn't have it any other way, would you?

  • Sevo||

    Tony|2.13.12 @ 1:12PM|#
    "It works with the end goal being lining the pockets of the investors."

    Shithead got something RIGHT!
    Here's your watch, shithead.

  • Paul||

    It works with the end goal being lining the pockets of the investors. You wouldn't have it any other way, would you?

    Pretty much.

  • Zeb||

    No. Why the fuck would anyone invest if there was not the promise of having their pockets lined? Do you really think that central planning would do better? What the fuck do you think the alternative is?

  • Tony||

    Investing for the good of the people. It will never be in a private investor's interest to build a transportation infrastructure, universal education, or any other universal service government provides. Hugely important is the investment in basic scientific research that doesn't really happen in the private sector but which government does--thus providing the jumping off place for innovation capitalism. That's why it's necessary to have an alternative to the market. The market doesn't provide everything we need, it's as simple as that.

  • cw||

    The government rarely does a decent job deciding what "everyone needs." Oh, and provide some evidence that a freed market would not continue to do "basic scientific research."

  • Tony||

    Where would be the profit? Yes, there are profits to be had once the research is done and exploited by companies, but why would they invest in pure research in the first place if they're driven by quarterly returns?

    It may be terribly inconvenient for your worldview, but the fact is an overwhelming part of the innovation in the 20th century owes itself to government investment in basic scientific research. Hence the continuous irony of libertarians on the Internet.

  • cw||

    Private persons can always form non-profits.

  • The Derider||

    Private non-profits rarely do a decent job deciding what "everyone needs". Oh, and provide some evidence that private non-profits would continue to invest in an efficient level of "basic scientific research."

  • cw||

    Considering private non-profits can't legally steal from others and therefore actually have to plan and deliver according to market needs, my take is that they do a helluva better job deciding what people need.

  • The Derider||

    Think about how a non-profit investing in theoretical research works. They don't sell the product they produce. Their funding comes from donations. They are incentivised to produce what their donors think needs researching, not "market needs".

  • Sevo||

    The Derider|2.13.12 @ 4:20PM|#
    "Think about how a non-profit investing in theoretical research works. They don't sell the product they produce. Their funding comes from donations. They are incentivised to produce what their donors think needs researching, not "market needs"."

    What a stinking pile of horse manure. It's not worth the time to shred it piece by piece; let's just say if there were one word in there which isn't a lie, the Soviet Union would be hot stuff!

  • The Derider||

    The Soviet Union is to socialism what Somalia is to capitalism.

  • cw||

    Corporations aren't the only form of business, much less the only form of a non-law-making entity that can create things based off of research.

  • The Derider||

    The form of the business isn't really important. Private investors can't capture the full value of theoretical research because they can't patent it. Therefore theoretical research investment has an associated positive externality, meaning it is under-utilized in a pure market situation.

  • MJGreen||

    Much innovation in the 20th century came from government investment in scientific research, because government invested heavily in scientific research.

    On the other hand, much innovation and scientific discovery in the 19th century came from private investment.

  • Sam Grove||

    Clueless.

    The transistor was developed by Bell labs. Integrated circuits were developed by private industry. the automobile and airline industries were all developed in the private sector. The list goes on and on.

    What wouldn't be developed without government investment is the means to make war.

  • cw||

    Of course, the modern liberal would add, it was war spending that propelled the economy out of its funk after WWII, right?

  • The Derider||

    The theoretical research needed to make new weapons can be applied peacefully.

    Example: Manhattan project leads to nuclear power plants.

  • Tony||

    And government investment was responsible for nuclear power, communications satellites, the Internet, bar codes, MRI. What's your point? I'm not the dogmatist here. I fully accept that private citizens can invent things and private companies can invest in new technology. But government, by virtue of the large amount of funds at its disposal, can be a useful partner in the endeavor. All it takes is funding, really, and why government is good for this purpose is because it can channel funds into pure research without the need to consider short-term profit.

  • cw||

    I wonder how much those funds, which were not contributed voluntarily, were wasted in the process. And, of course, it's impossible to prove that the market wouldn't have developed such things as the internet on its own.

  • Tony||

    But it's easy to prove that the government did it first.

    Surely some money spend on basic research is wasted; that's the nature of basic research. It's only efficient in the long-term, whereas private companies are only interested in short-term profit.

    There are some things that the market just won't provide, and the only reason you can't accept that is because you're a market dogmatist.

  • cw||

    There are some things that the market just won't provide,

    Only because you statists won't let it.

    and the only reason you can't accept that is because you're a market dogmatist.

    And because you're an asshole.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    "private companies are only interested in short-term profit"

    Bullshit.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tiny,

    But it's easy to prove that the government did it first.


    Yes, for instance, government invesment lead to the invention of the airplane...

    ... you know, the one that plunged straight into the Potomac.

    Idiot.

    Surely some money spend on basic research is wasted; that's the nature of basic research.


    A statement that tells me you have NO idea what basic research entails or consists of.

    It's only efficient in the long-term, whereas private companies are only interested in short-term profit.


    And you think government doesn't? Why do you think the deficit has been balooning forever?

    Imbecile.

    There are some things that the market just won't provide, and the only reason you can't accept that is because you're a market dogmatist.


    Non sequitur accompanied by a sloppy Ad Hominem. You were probably too busy being screwed from behind in the mens' lockers during the Introduction To Logic 101 class.

    The market already provided those things you think it doesn't, until the government simply decided to co-opt them. There are idiots in some countries who think only government can provide gasoline. They must be friends of yours.

  • Tony||

    You are too vulgar for words. Stop talking to me.

  • Sam Grove||

    It will never be in a private investor's interest to build a transportation infrastructure, universal education, or any other universal service government provides. Hugely important is the investment in basic scientific research that doesn't really happen in the private sector but which government does--thus providing the jumping off place for innovation capitalism.

    You are hugely in error in supposing these things.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    "It will never be in a private investor's interest to build a transportation infrastructure"

    Says you, dumbass. Government fucked up the possibility to profitably operate private infrastructure with subsidies and regulation.

    "scientific research that doesn't really happen in the private sector"

    Bullshit.

  • cw||

    Tony seems to know all the goings-on in private research labs, yet is totally oblivious to the concept of government stealing money solely for its own gain.

  • Sam Grove||

    It works with the end goal being lining the pockets of the investors.

    How would YOU persuade people to postpone some of their consumption so as to make resources available to create better means of production?

    There aren't too many options, you either promise rewards or make threats.

    Do you prefer the latter?

  • ||

    I'm not sure what "libertarian socialism" means.

    Maybe Doherty's idiot twin from Burning Man will show up and explain it all to us.

  • Uncle Pfizer||

    Is this like leftists saying the USSR wasn't really communism?

  • Sam Grove||

    Is this like leftists saying the USSR wasn't really communism?

    It wasn't. Communism was so disfunctional that it was abandoned very quickly. Hence the second S in USSR stands for socialism.

  • yonemoto||

    OT: Tom Friedman has an op-ed that isn't total dreck.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02.....party.html

  • BakedPenguin||

    No, it's dreck. He really thinks the Rs are "radical"? He doesn't think any of them have valid plans for the US debt? He thinks the way to encourage innovations in education lies in DC? Pure dreck.

  • yonemoto||

    it's very partisan, I'll give you that. It's not TOTAL dreck. There's some things in there that make sense.

  • Maxxx||

    It's time to do some soul searching when Tommy Friedman starts to make sense to you.

  • yonemoto||

    I set the bar low for Tom Friedman.

  • ||

    Tom Friedman has an op-ed that isn't total dreck.

    Seriously? More magical incantations about infrastructure and mandatory Phds for the masses.

    And throwing lots and lots of money at "public-private" collectivism.

  • yonemoto||

    honestly, I only read the first five paragraphs. Usually I only get through two.

  • yonemoto||

    (and the last paragraph). So really only about 25% of the article is crap.

  • yonemoto||

    (and the last paragraph). So really only about 25% of the article is crap.

  • ||

    And-

    Top Men!

  • ||

    the end goal being lining the pockets of the investors.

    If you mean "compensating them for risking their savings" yes.

  • ||

    (wage labor is coercive?! WTF!?)

    Dude, that shit seriously impinges on your gamboling.

  • Gojira||

    It's true: when I was in college, I spent all my time gamboling, and never received any wages. When I found out I need wages to live, I had to give up my gamboling ways.

    Or just re-roll (kill myself and hope to be reincarnated as a trust-fund baby).

  • ||

    Speaking of Doherty's idiot twin...

  • twv||

    Folks, a little less name-calling might be in order.

    My only real complaint with Chartier is that he says people generally don't like hierarchies. This has not been my experience. They crave hierarchies. Human beings are amazingly hierarchical animals. "Pecking order" and "alpha males" and the like reflect real human supply and demand for leadership. Obsession about hierarchies is not the proper footing to understand freedom, since hierarchies will always exist. Everywhere.

  • Sam Grove||

    Maybe.

  • ||

    How many divisions does Safeway have?

    NICE.

  • ||

    in the perfect society, each person, including the brain surgeon would spend some of his time sweeping floors, some of his time cooking meals, some of his time doing brain surgery, etc.

    The only thing absent from the discussion was who would enforce these rules?

    I think the common terminology is "Cadre".

  • yonemoto||

    it's a completely untrue statement, too, and falls into the same fallacy that hyperindividual supremacism falls into. If the brain surgeon really sucks at sweeping floors, it's a waste of effort and resources for him to be sweeping floors and not exchanging his expertise at brain surgery with someone who is actually good at sweeping floors.

  • yonemoto||

    *i guess it's not a fallacy so much as juvenile idealism.

  • ||

    Hell, even if the brain surgeon is really good at sweeping floors, its a waste for him to do it.

  • yonemoto||

    not necessarily. If no one has a brain issue and everyone else sucks at sweeping it might be worth it.

  • ||

    a little less name-calling might be in order.

    I think you might have missed the exit for facultylounge.com/genteeldiscourse.

  • MJGreen||

    I'm nearly finished reading the book. Johnson and Chartier did a good job editing it together, except for the very first chapter, a blog post by William Gillis that grossly characterizes "vulgar libertarians." It probably works great at welcoming hesitant readers on the left (their intended audience, I believe) but nearly had me walking away right then and there, despite their great introduction.

    Nevertheless, a lot of great material with only a few duds. It's particularly important for all us libertarians that don't think hard enough about the many privileges afforded to big business. Kevin Carson's essay on labor struggle in a free market, Joseph Stromberg's essays on land, and most everything by Benjamin Tucker and Karl Hess stand out.

    Everyone here should at least check out the book on scribd.

  • Tak Kak||

    It is a good book, and definitely worth the time to read. My only major issue is that they overlook all of the privileges given to their "pet" organizational preferences.

  • ||

    Kevin Carson's essay on labor struggle in a free market

    I'm not a fan of gangsterism or thuggery, so fuck him.

  • callme||

    Nor is Carson a fan of gangsterism or thuggery, so fuck you?

  • Tak Kak||

    Depending on how you view occupancy-and-use he certainly could be considered a fan.

  • ||

    If no one has a brain issue and everyone else sucks at sweeping it might be worth it.

    When your "civilisation" has reached that point, it's definitely time for a plague.

  • Robert||

    Clarence Carson and lots of others have long observed that about the word "capitalism".

    However, when it comes to defending the status quo, when somebody is seriously threatening to take away someone else's bread and water, can you blame those threatened for praising the bread & water and not complaining that it's not a full menu?

  • ||

    Is the term "Freed Market" intrinsically less vulnerable to misinterpretation over time than "capitalism"? If it is, let's use it. If it isn't, maybe we should stop pretending the problem is linguistics.

  • ||

    The problem is not linguistic. The problem is people who want the state to take what you have.

    It doesn't matter what you call the economic system that allows you to have what they want to take. They want it, and they want the state to take it. Full. Stop.

  • The Derider||

    Is there a difference in your mind between people who want to use state coercion to make transfer payments (welfare) and those who want to use state coercion to thwart free-riders (national defense)?

    Or are they all just parasites?

  • ||

    The attacks on "capitalism" aren't coming from people who want a bigger army. They are coming from people who want more transfer payments.

  • Tony||

    You mean those people in your head who are attacking capitalism?

    At most even OWS is asking for are minor fixes to a form of capitalism that's obviously broken.

    Not that there's any shock that you'd demagogue the issue.

  • Jeffersonian||

    "Minor fixes?" Like trillion-dollar bailouts of student loans? Like deporting "Zionist Jews?"

    Giving an ounce of power to these maniacs would be like giving an idiot child a pistol.

  • The Derider||

    If you're gonna tar OWS with the views of its craziest members, I've got some really interesting libertarian newsletters Ron Paul published a while back.

  • The Derider||

    The attacks on Government aren't coming from people who want capitalism, they're coming from people who want anarchy.

  • ¢||

    My only real complaint with Chartier is that he says people generally don't like hierarchies.

    Which is why professor/associate dean Chartier (editor) isn't identified by his place in any hierarchy.

  • Old Mexican||

    Chartier[...] discuss[es] why libertarians should stop embracing the word "capitalism,"


    We should call it "The use of your saved-up capital to create more valuable goods but I can't think of another name for it."

    [...]why there's reason to take the concerns of the political Left seriously,


    I take them seriously, and then seriously dismiss them as the musings of economics-illiterate buffoons.

    [...]and why the economic system in the United States does not even begin to resemble a free market.


    Hint: It's NOT because of a word.

  • Bradley||

    Hint: It's NOT because of a word.

    Where does he say it was?

  • ||

    Sounds like a plan to me bro. Wow.

    www.anon-stuff.tk

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