Ask a Libertarian 2012 with Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch: What is the libertarian solution to crony capitalism?


Welcome to Ask a Libertarian 2012 with Reason's Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch. They are the authors of the book, The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America, coming out in paperback with a new foreword covering Occupy Wall Street and more, on June 26.

In this video, they answer the question:

"What is the libertarian solution to crony capitalism? And, if it is possible to abolish crony capitalism, how do people prevent it from coming back?"—sent by Franklin Carter

Produced by Meredith Bragg, Jim Epstein, Josh Swain, and Tracy Oppenheimer with help from Katie Hooks.

To watch answers from 2011's Ask a Libertarian series, go here.

NEXT: Ask a Libertarian 2012 with Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch: Drone strikes in Yemen--yay or nay?

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  1. Will libertarianism still be the mortal enemy of progressivism when the ultra-Conservative Mitt Romney is in charge?

    1. We may be rhetorical allies, if progressives start to feign concern for civil liberties again.

  2. Seems logical to me that when a government official is powerless to help a company get what they want, crony capitalism will be eradicated. Nothing counter-intuitive about it!

    1. Meaning the company is free just to take what it wants. Preventing anticompetitive behavior, environmental harm, and other abuses of industry requires laws and enforcement power. A tax code that doesn’t hand out goodies to favored companies required exactly as much taxing and enforcement power as a tax code that is applied fairly. It makes no sense to avoid abuse of the law by just getting rid of the law.

      1. That doesn’t happen as long as the Top Men are in charge, right Tony?

        What’s that, the crony capitalism we have now, facilitated by both parties, makes it easier for big companies to get away with all of the things you listed? Imagine that.

        1. The rampant crony capitalism that exists today exists because “libertarian” sentiment in the Republican party, largely infecting the Democratic party as well especially in the 90s, has facilitated it with unmitigated zeal. Your policies are what make crony capitalism happen.

          1. Ah, like the libertarian sentiment that saw Obama haggling with Big Pharma over how many favors he would give them in order for them to shell out to pimp his signature law?

      2. Except that progressives have come up with no ideas to prevent abuse of the law except for keeping groups which might have an interest in corruption from participating in politics, which

        1) is inherently illiberal and violates the rights of the members of those groups.

        2) tends to overreach and punish groups that are mostly honest, especially if they at odds with the politicians pushing the bill for perfectly legitimate reasons.

        3) is subject to corruption in implementation, as any group that manages to carve out an exemption has a massive advantage in relative capacity for political participation.

        4) doesn’t actually work — there’s always some loophole, and it’s going to be the most devious and dishonest parties that discover it first and have the fewest qualms about exploiting it.

        5) doesn’t address politicians simply enriching themselves and their friends and families through law, which is the more prevalent form of corruption in history anyway.

        Probably the best check on legislative fuckery is just to assign the legislature the task of drafting bills, but leave the approval up to a direct democratic vote. It won’t prevent tyranny of the majority, but it will reduce garden variety corruption.

  3. What is the libertarian solution to crony capitalism?

    Libertarian= “Fire the crones to spend their remaining days as ragpickers, and hire their pre-teen children to work the monacle-factory machinery”

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