Economics

P.J. O'Rourke Updates Adam Smith

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Columnist Ron Hart gives two thumbs up to P.J. O'Rourke's recent On the Wealth of Nations, an updating of Adam Smith's classic. From Hart's column:

It is not the USDA that keeps your local supermarket from trying to make a little more money by selling tainted meat. It is their knowledge that their reputation in the society and their future profits will be adversely affected by such. I tell the people who work for me "to be long-term greedy." Think of your reputation as your stock and trade, and do nothing to clients that is not in their best interest—and therefore, ultimately, your own. The old saying that you can shear a sheep every month but you can only slaughter it once applies here. Businesses that do not do that, in a world with a vigilant free press, will not survive. 

The framers of our Constitution were clearly for less government. The modern politicians on both sides have forgotten that. As O'Rourke said, "The U.S. Constitution is less than a quarter the length of a Toyota Camry owner's manual, and it has managed to keep 300 million of the world's most unruly, passionate and energetic people safe, prosperous and free." 

In the world we have today, where the Right wants to tell you what you can do in the bedroom and the Left wants to tell you what car you can drive and how to spend your money, it is important that the words of Adam Smith are heard again.

Whole Hart col here.

Some of his comments remind me of an essay about P.T. Barnum that Reason ran a few years back. In that piece, political scientist John Mueller, now best known as a critic of overhyped fears of terrorism, wrote that the famous showman helped create the concept of business ethics. Why? Because Barnum learned he could either rip people off via sketchy ruses or be on the up-and-up and keep them as longtime customers. Read about "St. Phineas" here.

NEXT: Porn, Prosecutors, and Priorities

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  1. The framers of our Constitution were clearly for less government.

    I hate statements like this…less government than what?

  2. I hate statements like this…less government than what?

    I’m assuming he means less government than what we’ve come to have since the framers did their framing.

    But I see your point. I’d have written “small government” or “limited government”.

  3. “…than there could have been.”

    “…than many others would have been OK with.”

  4. “Businesses that do not do that, in a world with a vigilant free press, will not survive.”

    Amazing that so many do.

    Question: Should econimics be 1. Find your assumption and adapt your facts -or- find your facts ad adapt your assumptions?

    One of the really fun things I like to do to folks of all political persuasions is challenge their presumpitons.

    Kind of like people assume you can “control” government the same way, after all, in the presence of a free press, the government would not be raiding and killing innocent old women in Atlanta. Right?

    Same principal.

    I’m still for the free market, but not at the cost of rejecting Adam Smiths real assertions.

  5. Kind of like people assume you can “control” government the same way, after all, in the presence of a free press, the government would not be raiding and killing innocent old women in Atlanta. Right?

    Well, you could certainly make the argument that the free press prevents very rare occurances such as that one from being more common.

  6. Smith’s assertions should be right. In a rational world, they would be right. But there are enough examples of businesses tearing their own viscera out in order to show a profit in a given quarter (newspapers are a prime example-they’re decimating editorial staffs to satisfy investors who see no farther than the next quarterly statement) to suggest that Smith forgot to account for something.

  7. One little complaint: reputation might be as important as O’Rourke would like us to think, or a company can merely change its name (i.e., Valujet) and continue on as if nothing happened.

  8. Number 6 nailed the difference between the interest of the corporation as a whole vs. that of its management.

    Lamar got the shortcomings of reputation in a society large enough that people don’t actually know most of those they do business with.

    I guess that just leaves me with the observation that one can be penny wise and pound foolish – that those who are especially motivated to save a few bucks out of their own self-interest can cut corners and end up putting a lousy product on the shelves, unaware of the damage their doing.

    Nice use of verb tense in the phrase “trying to make”, Mr. O’Rourke. Very different than “making.”

  9. reputation might be as important as O’Rourke would like us to think, or a company can merely change its name

    It depends how vigilant the consumer is. Take, for example, the shady New York Russian run mail order camera business. Periodically I read about folks being taken by this perennial scam. 5 min. with a site like resellerratings.com (or whatever) would turn up unhappy customers and the numerous business names. But enough folks are lazy and gullible to keep a certain amount of this going around.

  10. Investors are not asking newspapers to reduce editorial staffs because of short-term profit concerns. They are asking them to do so because it is a business in long-term secular decline.

    Warren Buffett, who has invested in many newspapers and used to love the business, said it best. Something like, don’t have the exact quote,…

    If the internet had always existed, do you think there would have developed a traditional newspaper industry?

    Obviously not.

  11. Number 6,

    Is it Smith that was wrong or is the system of quarterly reports, etc. wrong?

    Actually, one thought I had, why is it that “blue cities” NY, Minneapolis/St. Paul, San Francisco, Chicago, seem to be prosperous centers of finance, but are so damn liberal and to one degree or another unfree?

    Why too is it that liberal blue states are actually losing money to the feds, while most red states are welfare states, yet the red staters claim to be voting for more free markets?

  12. You could extend the “reputation” logic to pretty much do away with all laws.

    A guy who commits a few murders is going to quickly develop a poor reputation in the community and nobody is going to want to associate with him or give him a job or place to live, etc.

    So just like with tainted meat, the problem will correct itself.

  13. Number 6 nailed . . . Lamar got the shortcomings . . . [Joe made] the observation that . . .

    And, predictably, Dave W. chimed in with the salient fact that if the supply side of the market is consolidated, then suppliers don’t compete on “reputation,” or at least not very hard. Think Microsoft.

  14. LannyChiu- Of course the newspaper industry is changing. But lowering the quality of the core product (news, provided by reporters) is not the way to save it. Expanding into markets like the net, and offering a product you can’t find elsewhere is. Again, that won’t work if the core product sucks.

    BTW-Although there are some major problems in the paper biz these days, profits still hover around the 20 percent mark.

  15. Nice use of verb tense in the phrase “trying to make”, Mr. O’Rourke. Very different than “making.”

    Not to quibble too much, joe, but those were Hart’s words, not O’Rourke’s.

    I haven’t read O’Rourke’s book. I admit I have a soft spot for him — his older books can still make me crack up. I haven’t been as impressed with his more recent stuff, though.

  16. Actually, one thought I had, why is it that “blue cities” NY, Minneapolis/St. Paul, San Francisco, Chicago, seem to be prosperous centers of finance, but are so damn liberal and to one degree or another unfree?

    I like to bring this point up from time to time as well.

    I’d say that it indicates that people realize that while freedom is nice in concept, sometimes it’s worth it to give up some of that freedom in exchange for opportunity, culture, and community.

  17. Unfortunately, unlike Barnum’s businessmen, politicians take their ethical cue from Bret Maverick’s Old Pappy, who told him “You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time, and those are good odds.”

    Meanwhile, having now played “Ridgely on Gillespie on Hart on O’Rourke on Smith,” I note that Smith’s original observation about the butcher, the brewer or the baker depends at least in part on a parochial vision of the economy. That is, in the parish or village commerce is largely person-to-person and reputation plays a significant role in policing the otherwise potentially unscrupulous businessman. “Oh, Mrs. Green, don’t buy your meat from Murphy or you’ll be paying for his thumb as well as your rump roast.”

    It is unclear how even a “vigorous free press” in our Global Village can or would supplant that sort of first-hand or reliable second-hand knowledge. Indeed, one problem not so much with libertarian theory per se but with the mind-set or perspective of many libertarian advocates is a tendency to have that sort of village economy model in mind when extolling the virtues of contracts and free markets.

    One other point. Smith obviously believed (and I agree) that reputation was valuable and perhaps even indispensable in a free market. It follows then, I think, that one’s reputation should be capable of legal protection regardless of whether it meets some theoretical definition of property. I am led to understand, however, that this is not the currently “mainstream” libertarian position; a fact I find odd.

  18. Dan T-You assume that government intervention equals opportunity, culture and community.

  19. A guy who commits a few murders is going to quickly develop a poor reputation in the community and nobody is going to want to associate with him or give him a job or place to live, etc.

    All right, who’s spoofing Dan again? Anyone? No one?

  20. Dan T-You assume that government intervention equals opportunity, culture and community.

    It’s more I’m saying that when you put a large number of people together in a small space, more rules are required because an individual’s actions are more likely to affect others.

    Culture is best when you have a large number of diverse people in a position to contribute to that culture. And for that to happen, a more authoritarain government is usually needed.

  21. Thank you for the correction, Dylan.

    None of this is to say that Smith and O’Rourke’s ideas are wrong, just that they are less than exhaustive. The ability of competition to drive suppliers to maintain a good reputation is real and significant, but to conclude from this that such a desire makes regulation unnecessary can only be done by someone ignoring a great deal of reality.

    I guess I’m saying that the dozen chapters of the Intro to Economics textbook you get through in the first semester of Econ 101 is a good base for further study, but not for describing or predicting how economic actors function.

  22. A guy who commits a few murders is going to quickly develop a poor reputation in the community and nobody is going to want to associate with him or give him a job or place to live, etc.

    All right, who’s spoofing Dan again? Anyone? No one?

    No it’s me – I was being absurd there but Ron Hart seems to seriously think that stores should be legally allowed to serve meat that will make people sick or kill them because their reputation will prevent them from actually doing it.

  23. Culture is best when you have a large number of diverse people in a position to contribute to that culture. And for that to happen, a more authoritarain government is usually needed.

    Agreed on the first part. I don’t think the second follows. Given that government tends to be a force for statis, I’d say exactly the opposite.

  24. I agree by and large with Adam Smith, but I am willing to bet that his notion of governance is diffenrent from 99% of the Libertarians.

    “It is not very unreasonable that the rich should contribute to the public expense, not only in proportion to their revenue, but something
    more than in that proportion.”
    -Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, Book V, Part II

  25. Number 6,

    Ever hear of the “King’s Peace?” It’s also known as “the Peace of the Market.”

    The terms refer to the set of regulations and processes enforced at spear point by the government in the open-air markets in pre-industrial society. Every government developed its own set, because it was flagrantly obvious to even the dullest merchants that without somebody keeping them all in line, the agora would turn into a violent, destructive, inoperative mess, and nobody would be able to sell anything.

    When you’ve got enough dynamic people crowded cheek by jowl to offer the wares, somebody has to have the final say on, for example, how many square feet of the agora each merchant was allowed to occupy. Otherwise, everyone is turning over everyone else’s tables and the whole process breaks down.

  26. Number 6,

    Smith’s assertions should be right. In a rational world, they would be right. But there are enough examples of businesses tearing their own viscera out in order to show a profit in a given quarter (newspapers are a prime example-they’re decimating editorial staffs to satisfy investors who see no farther than the next quarterly statement) to suggest that Smith forgot to account for something.

    Its not that Smith was unaware that companies do things for short term gain, long term loss, but that this continued practice would soon put them out of business was the obvious retort. Never associate certain failing business decisions with the inevitable failure of Smith’s economic theory.

    BTW, I read this book and highly reccomend it.

  27. Agreed on the first part. I don’t think the second follows. Given that government tends to be a force for statis, I’d say exactly the opposite.

    But you’ve already noted that in reality the cultural capitals of the United States (NYC, San Francisco, LA, Chicago) tend to be the ones with high taxes and more authoritarian governments.

    And as I love to point out, Reason staffers may say that big government is a bad thing, but check thier bios and see where they choose to live.

  28. Joe,

    If they weren’t all crammed into to such a small space as afforded in the castles, there would be no reason that they would have to fight over space, 🙂

  29. One could always argue that a store selling meat it knows to be tainted is committing fraud, which most libertarians believe to be a justifiable government intrusion.

    That said, something as simple as tainted meat is routinely handled by reputation.

    Think about it. How many restaurants do you actually eat at in your city? Some of which are the same franchise; so you are only keeping track of maybe a dozen companies. And your friends probably eat at similar restaurants. So, if any of them get sick, you are going to hear about it (over and over).

  30. Dan T,

    Remember this maxim, correlation does not equal causation.

  31. When you’ve got enough dynamic people crowded cheek by jowl to offer the wares, somebody has to have the final say on, for example, how many square feet of the agora each merchant was allowed to occupy. Otherwise, everyone is turning over everyone else’s tables and the whole process breaks down.

    Or else you expand (or permit expansion of) the size of the agora.

  32. But you’ve already noted that in reality the cultural capitals of the United States (NYC, San Francisco, LA, Chicago) tend to be the ones with high taxes and more authoritarian governments.
    In fairness, I didn’t note that. I’m also not sure it’s true. Certainly, some forms of culture are more prevalent in those cities. But culture does not begin or end at the Met or in a SoHo gallery.
    I’d also suggest that while there may be some correlation, you haven’t shown any sort of a causative link. I could point out that there seem to be more cyclists in heavily regulated areas, but that wouldn’t mean the two are actually linked.

  33. Joe-That’s a fair point, and it may well be the case that in heavily populated areas, more legal rules, rather than unwritten but understood rules (read: customs enforced by something like social sanctions)are necessary. But you also want to remember that the system works only insofar as the laws are applied impartially. When the king’s men can be bribed, anything resembling fairness goes away. And the more areas the king’s men are involved in, the more wrong things go when corruption comes into play.

  34. LiT,

    1. The fact that the businesses fail does little to deter the managers/corproate raiders who sell their inflated stocks after the nice-looking quarterly report. The failure of the business has nothing to do with their self-interest. That’s the problem.

    2. You joke, but if take away the density of merchants, you end up with much less dynamism, as purchasers can conduct much less comparitive shopping, merchants can’t check out each others’ wares and be inspired to change something as easily, fewer business contacts are made, etc etc. A genuinely dynamic economy and society requires a great deal of cross-pollinization, which in turn requires a certain degree of density (of people, ideas, money, businesses, etc), which in turn requires a degree of control unnecessary in a society/economy made up of atomized individuals, each on his own farm.

  35. One could always argue that a store selling meat it knows to be tainted is committing fraud, which most libertarians believe to be a justifiable government intrusion.

    That’s what occurred to me.
    Also, a business that knowingly (or even unknowingly) sells a product that is defective and/or dangerous not only risks its reputation, it also risks lawsuits, no?
    If I swallow a jagged metal Krusty-O, Krusty’s gonna have more to worry about than his reputation …

  36. DA,

    Agoras were commonly expanded. Doing so didn’t eliminate the need for the King’s Peace.

    Something you learn studying the geographic aspect of society and commerce is that occupants expand to fill the available space, and then some. If an auto body business can fit 15 cars in its lot without encroaching, it will cram 18 cars into the lot and spread out over the sidewalk. If they get a little more land, so they can fit 22 cars, they will cram in 27 cars.

  37. Number 6,

    It isn’t just the formality of the rules that expands with density, but the volume of rules, both formal and informal.

    I will guaran-damn-tee you that there are both more laws, and more informal understandings, that cover on-street parking in the urban blocks of my city than there are in any sprawling suburb. Of course there are. There need to be.


  38. In fairness, I didn’t note that. I’m also not sure it’s true.

    You’re right, you were talking about finance instead of culture. My bad.

    Certainly, some forms of culture are more prevalent in those cities. But culture does not begin or end at the Met or in a SoHo gallery.

    What I was getting at is that an individual can experience more different forms of culture in a large city than a small town or rural area.

    Also, most of our mass entertainment nationwide tends to stem from places like NYC or Hollywood.

    I’d also suggest that while there may be some correlation, you haven’t shown any sort of a causative link.

    Well, you can’t really test something like this in a laboratory so correlation is perhaps the best we can do. But the connection does seem to hold true, doesn’t it?

  39. I agree by and large with Adam Smith, but I am willing to bet that his notion of governance is diffenrent from 99% of the Libertarians.

    Smith also has a great quote about suppliers colluding to subvert hos market model, which quote tends to be ignored by the O’Rourke’s and Hart’s of the world.

  40. That’s what occurred to me.
    Also, a business that knowingly (or even unknowingly) sells a product that is defective and/or dangerous not only risks its reputation, it also risks lawsuits, no?
    If I swallow a jagged metal Krusty-O, Krusty’s gonna have more to worry about than his reputation …

    But it sounds like you still want government intervention, it’s just that you want it after a problem occurs instead of beforehand.

    That’s fine, but I’d just as soon not eat the tainted meat in the first place.

  41. joe, I’m willing to concede the point (except, perhaps, insofar as it constitutes an implicit justification for urban planners [smile]). Inasmuch as the sidewalks and roads are commons, we get the typical commons problems. Still, it isn’t clear to me that state action is the only solution.

  42. Joe,

    What’s good for an individual at a certain point in time, brought to that point by a history of non-economic forces is hardly a good example of why economic self interest is something that should be even more regulated by non economic forces

    And you assume that there can only be one place for a dynamic market to occur. This is bullshit, theres plenty of examples where people realized there wasn’t enough space and formed seperate markets peaceably next door and multiple markets thrived as long as the population supported them. Humanity finds a comfortable density and dynamism on its own without needing to be squeezed into ever smaller areas.

  43. “The U.S. Constitution is less than a quarter the length of a Toyota Camry owner’s manual, and it has managed to keep 300 million of the world’s most unruly, passionate and energetic people safe, prosperous and free.”

    Hmmm. I guess if that’s if you ignore the 50 state constitutions, the tens of thousands of federal and state laws, the millions of local ordinances, the millions of court decisions, and the millions and millions of pages of regulations generated at the federal, state, and local levels. I’ll give a B+ for sappy, feel-good rhetoric, P.J., and a zero for logic and accuracy.

  44. LiT,

    “Humanity finds a comfortable density and dynamism on its own without needing to be squeezed into ever smaller areas.”

    Sure, the merchants could always set up shop beside the roadway, away from the crowding of the market. They could each have had acres and acres of their own land, and no one would ever have had to enforce any kind of system of order and fairness.

    But then you wouldn’t have a market, in any functional sense, and you’d lose all of the advantages of having one.

    That’s why merchants, who were perfectly free to do business in other locations besides the agora, consistently chose not to. Sure, sometimes another market area would be founded, but it would then look and operate – including the density and the King’s Peace – just like the other agora. The merchants wanted it that way, the customers wanted it that way, and they both knew it took government regulation for it to be that way, and still function.

    You can have dynamism, or you can have places and commerce without regulation. You just can’t have both together.

  45. http://www.mises.org/web/2691

    For a nice counter view on the importance of Smith.

    “In castigating Adam Smith for errors, therefore, we are not being anachronistic, absurdly punishing past thinkers for not being as wise as we who come later. For Smith not only contributed nothing of value to economic thought; his economics was a grave deterioration from his predecessors: from Cantillon, from Turgot, from his teacher Hutcheson, from the Spanish scholastics, even oddly enough from his own previous works”

  46. People who base the philosophy on the concepts of “markets” and “property” would do well to have a solid understanding of the historical, concrete phenomena known as “markets” (as in agoras) and “property” (as in real estate).

    What’s the word for thinking the metaphor described by a thing is more real than the thing itself? Reification?

  47. Sorry Joe,

    You got that backwards…

    Reification (fallacy), fallacy of treating an abstraction as if it were a concrete.

  48. Sorta…

    Since the metaphor of markets is based on a real thing (markets), it isn’t really reification…

    But you point is taken.

  49. When economics began to develop as a stand alone discipline- there were two major competeing schools of thoughts- The Classical School and the Austrian School- aka Von Mises.

    Among other things they disagee on is that the classical school continued on the Adam Smith tradition of empirical analysis- his Wealth of Nations contained a mind-numbing amount of charts and price sheets.

    Mises on the other hand, “rejected the use of observation”, and relied instead on sets of syllogisms.

    The epistemological war between the Classicists and the Austrians have long been decided in the favor of the former, for economics, given all of its faults, should and always be an empirical study. Economics without data is theology.

  50. But there are enough examples of businesses tearing their own viscera out in order to show a profit in a given quarter (newspapers are a prime example-they’re decimating editorial staffs to satisfy investors who see no farther than the next quarterly statement) to suggest that Smith forgot to account for something.

  51. Whoops, sorry. What I was going to say in reply to that is that one of Smith’s more interesting errors is that he claimed that publicly owned companies would never be common or successful, because the owner-agent problems (which you bring up) would render them too inefficient to compete. He apparently didn’t realize that the economies of scale you could gain from that kind of cross-national fund raising would more than compensate for the loss of efficiency and direct owner control.

    Economics without data is theology.

    Or philosophy. I like philosophy.

    But more seriously, it’s more a question of when you move from data to theory. Mises did it really early, but there are a bunch of places where he says something like, “there’s no reason this has to be true, but in our world it is.” The claims of quasi-a-priori economics are, for the most part, accurate on technical terms, but really hard to apply to the real world: it’s true by definition that people act to maximize their expected utility, but that doesn’t tell you what they expect their utility to be or what they’ll actually do.

  52. I wouldn’t underestimate the power of reputation in a complex global economy, not just local ones. In one of Thomas Friedman’s books he points out a number of cases where activists have used the internet and other media to affect change in businesses – cutting off the culling of dolphins in tuna fishing for just one example.

  53. What’s the word for thinking the metaphor described by a thing is more real than the thing itself?

    Identity politics.

  54. Actually, one thought I had, why is it that “blue cities” NY, Minneapolis/St. Paul, San Francisco, Chicago, seem to be prosperous centers of finance, but are so damn liberal and to one degree or another unfree?

    Despite the liberal repuation, the business environment in the San Francisco Bay area is a hotbed of mantic capitalism and vigorous consumerism, sometimes spilling over into outright hedonism.

    Which is not to say that the area isn’t liberal: people are extremely tolerant of alternative life styles; very concerned with environmental regulation; restrictionist as hell about land use in their own back yards; concerned about the poor, although in an abstract, at-a-safe-distance way; and love Al Gore, Al Franken, Hillary Clinton, Michael Moore, and Nancy Pelosi.

  55. “You can have dynamism, or you can have places and commerce without regulation. You just can’t have both together.”

    My problem is that the “king’s peace” in all reality was tyrranical and arbitrary and the example was brought about do to people being forced to be not where they would gravitate to, but only where they were not slaughtered routinely. You example therefore, is just not a good one. Modern government could be seen as more self regulation of markets (atleast in comparison to feudal society). I’m specifically saying that merchants were very much forced into confined spaces back then and this was a very unnatural position, leading to greater friction than current dynamic marketplaces. Face it, your example was poor and is not a good comparison to modern society.

  56. Every government developed its own set, because it was flagrantly obvious to even the dullest merchants that without somebody keeping them all in line, the agora would turn into a violent, destructive, inoperative mess, and nobody would be able to sell anything.

    Who guards the guardians?

  57. Joe,
    Correct me if I am wrong, but weren’t the agoras simply impromptu marketplaces set up on city lands (town squares, etc.)? Wouldn’t private rental/ownership of the spaces solve the encroachment problems inherent in this system? I am a frequent visitor to my local “fleamarket” and have never seen a fight break out among vendors over stall space and there are no police men standing around with the modern equivalent of spears.

    Remember also that a fair amount of this governmentally imposed “peace” was to prevent rival factions (usually political or tribal in structure rather than economic) from warring in the only available public common area. We still have this “peace” in the form of citizen police forces.

  58. LiT,

    First, it is not “an unnatural situation” for merchants to gather together. Nothing could be more natural than retail businessmen wanting to be in the place where the public gather to engage in barter and exchange. Marketplaces were an eternal aspect of all civilizations that grew beyond folk society, in the most peaceful of times as well as the most violent.

    Goldwater Conservative,

    That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? The combination of separation of powers among three different branches, with a system of checks and balances, was a pretty inspired answer, in my opinion. But that’s one of those questions that can never be answered, just managed.

    Kwix,

    They often began that way, but were quickly formalized. One or more public spaces was set aside for that purpose whenever the settlement (or the society it was in) became formalized.

    “Wouldn’t private rental/ownership of the spaces solve the encroachment problems inherent in this system?” Enforcing occupancy and use rights like that was part of the King’s Peace.

    “I am a frequent visitor to my local “fleamarket” and have never seen a fight break out among vendors over stall space and there are no police men standing around with the modern equivalent of spears.” That’s because it works. When it works, everyone knos the rules. You don’t see people fighting over where a table can go because everyone knows.

  59. Hart is about as good a writer as we have out there right now the PJ is not writing columns. Keep up the great work.

  60. Agreed, Hart’s logic is a pure as Smith’s or O’ROurke’s. With consumer reporters and anti business press out there, no business can afford a major misstep. Even though ValueJet changed its name, it was not really thier fault on the crash, it was a sub contractor that loaded cannisters on plane. AirTran survived and is a helluva airline. Hart understands business very well. He is a rock star!

  61. No, there is nothing unnatural about businessmen wanting a place to gather, but the villages surrounding castles were just as thriving, except that they were frequently burned to the ground by kingships for one reason or another, so the only safe (or relatively safe) place was inside the castle where you merely had to be extorted by a single sovereign who had interest in keeping his source of revenue, thereby not killing you or burning your business to the ground.

  62. LiT,

    That was true of the settlements in New England as well. I suppose now you’re going to claim that the Mohawks and Wampanoags were the forces of statism.

  63. Why bring the indians into it? Hart is right on the mark with his columns and very funny. I wish he had a larger circulation. We get him in out paper, but NY Times and other liberal monopolies would never carry him as he would appeal to the thinking liberals at the fringe that they fear to lose.

  64. Bethany:

    You say that the NY Times is a monopoly? Are you aware that the Wall Street Journal is just as much a New York paper as the Times? Or does a monopoly include competitors nowadays? And oh yeah, “thinking liberals” read the left and right wing stuff.

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