Free Markets

Coercion Is Bad Economics

Free markets generate value, deliver diversity, and spur better ways of doing things

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A common feature of Obama administration economic policies is the use of government coercion. The Obamacare health law mandated that individuals buy insurance. The administration's tax increases grabbed more earnings from millions of people. And federal agencies are imposing an increasing pile of labor, environmental, and financial regulations on businesses.

Pro-market policy experts point out the negative effects of each intervention, but the administration keeps dreaming up with new ways to take our money, restrict what we do, and manipulate the economy. 

Liberals or progressives seem to have no inkling of why free economies work better than economies based on central authority. They favor using centralized force apparently because they think that it creates practical benefits.

But coercion is not a practical way to help the economy—regulations and taxes rarely make us better off. Some people may gain, but the vast majority of people lose. Coercion tends to destroy value, not create it.

There are at least four fundamental reasons why.

First, because the government uses coercion, its actions are based on guesswork. Regulations are top-down commands, not efforts at finding common agreement. Spending relies on compulsory taxation, not voluntary customer revenue. So government actions generate no feedback regarding whether or not they generate any net value.

Compare that to markets. We know markets generate value because they are based on voluntary and mutually beneficial exchanges. Decisionmaking in markets is a reality-based system guided by individual preferences.

Consider the purchase of aircraft. In the private sector, an airline chooses the number to buy based on the demand for air travel, which is aggregated through the price system from choices made in the marketplace. By contrast, when the Pentagon buys aircraft, it has no price system or measured demand to guide it, so its decisions are made flying blind.

Second, government actions often destroy value because they create winners and losers. Regulations squelch personal choices and impose one-size-fits-all rules. The amount of federal spending on each program is chosen for the whole nation, and thus differs from the amount that would be favored by each individual. 

In markets, people choose the amount of each item they purchase, and they can pursue a vast array of different interests, lifestyles, and careers. "The great advantage of the market," Milton Friedman said, "is that it permits wide diversity," while "the characteristic feature of action through political channels is that it tends to require or enforce substantial conformity."

Liberals like using the word "diversity," but it is free markets that actually deliver it. With their support of big government, liberals seem to believe that people can be made better off by quashing their individual choices. But with America's increasingly pluralistic society, it makes more sense to allow for diverse market solutions, rather than top-down rules from Washington.

Third, government activities fail to create value because the funding comes from a compulsory source: taxes. Unlike in markets, bad government decisions are not punished and failed policies are not weeded out because the funding is not contingent on performance. Low-value programs can live on forever, and they block the reallocation of resources to better uses.

In markets, the quest for profits spurs businesses to search for better ways of doing things. Businesses aim to maximize value for themselves, and they end up boosting the broader economy, which is the "invisible hand" of Adam Smith. In government, there is no invisible hand, no guide to steer policymakers in a constructive direction.

Fourth, government programs often fail to generate value because the taxes to support them create "deadweight losses" or economic damage. Taxes are compulsory, and so they induce people to avoid them by changing their working, investing, and consumption activities. That reduces overall output and incomes.

Let's say that the government imposes a tax on wine. That would transfer money from wine drinkers to the recipients of government programs. But an additional cost—the deadweight loss—would be created as people cut back their wine consumption. People would enjoy less wine and suffer a reduction in welfare or happiness.

The wine tax has blocked mutually beneficial exchanges from taking place, and thus has damaged the economy. The size of the damage depends on the type of tax, but for the income tax, empirical studies show that the deadweight loss of raising taxes by a dollar is roughly 50 cents.

Suppose that a philanthropist spends $10 million on a charitable program that generates $12 million in benefits. That private program would be a success. But a similar program run by the government would be a failure because the tax funding would create deadweight losses. The government program would cost $10 million directly, plus another $5 million in deadweight losses, for a total cost that is higher than the benefits.

In sum, coercion imposes deadweight losses and creates winners and losers, which is the polar opposite of the win-win exchanges in markets. Politicians may hope that their interventions create more winners than losers, but that is wishful thinking because their decisions are based on no more than guesswork.

Liberals might assume that the government has an advantage in tackling society's problems because it is such a powerful institution. But because it uses coercion to raise funds and impose its will, the government tends to make bad decisions, entrench them, and drag the whole economy down.

NEXT: Why The Future Looks Pretty Damn Great

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  1. The problem with free market theory is that it tends to assume that, free of coercion, people will make rational economic choices.

    This maybe true on the whole, but there are enough examples it irrationality to call it into question.

    The problem with collectivist theory is that it fundamentally assumes that the choices made by Top Men (assuming that such can be persuaded to do the work) will be better than the irrational choices made by the Common People.

    There really isn’t one heck of a lot of evidence for this. For that matter, the historical evidence tends to suggest that Top Men, faced with the prospect of trying to impose rationality on the irrational, will skip over the nearest border to someplace where they are free to do something more interesting. Like sort belly-button lint.

    So one is left with non-Top men. Who most often turn out to be petty, irrational, vicious little sods.

    Bottom line; free markets are preferable, because in them the proportion of horrible outcomes that people cause for themselves, as opposed to have imposed on them, is better.

    1. In Free Markets, people who make irrational decisions lose out on reproduction, and those qualities, through culture or possibly even evolution, will die out or become relatively obsolete.

      Free Markets are not perfect, but human beings are not perfect. Free Markets are the perfect system for an imperfect man.

    2. Markets are also information systems. Irrational choices tend to either be averaged out or there is some sort of corrective action that is more or less automatic.

      A diverse, distributed, networked system that integrates/distributes local knowledge through the system will always be more efficient, error correcting, etc. than a top down central controller.

      1. Exactly; the free market is the sort of touchy-feeley “let’s consult everybody” economic system that the Hippie Liberals always claim to want, but because it doesn’t result in people doing what the hippies think they should, they hate it.

    3. Here in the real world, there isn’t a zero-sum competition between government and markets. The concept of markets doesn’t make sense in the absence of government that defines their parameters. How much deception is allowed? Are child slaves ok? Monopolies? I think you all understand this perfectly well. You can see collective action (government) as the means by which we fill in the gaping holes of markets with respect to delivering human well-being, but that’s too deferential to markets as some kind of natural phenomenon for my taste. Markets are artificial, created by governments, and that is true no matter what type of market you have. Having a laissez-faire market is a choice made my a society. It should only be judged by its success or failure to deliver human well-being. It shouldn’t be accepted as inherently virtuous anymore than authoritarian communism should.

      1. But, also in the real world, Government tends to see a realatively free market as something that should be regulated, whether harm s being done or not. And we have gone entirely too goddamned far in that direction in the last century. The very idea that The War On Drugs makes it acceptable for the State to interfere with patients in chronic pain, lest some of them be “addicted” to opiates is barbaric.

        I’m sure other examples will occur to the honest.

        1. You’re still coming from the premise that there is such thing as an unregulated market and that it is a kind of default. A laissez-faire approach may be good for some facets of a market. It may be disastrous for others–say, polluting energy markets. There will be a Top Man (or if you like, a legislature) deciding how to handle each facet, even if he decides to do it laissez-faire. Moral panic is always a threat to freedom, be it with drugs or sex or anything else. I think it’s more useful if we examine each policy choice on its merits rather than extrapolate the failures of policymaking to arrive at an ideological blanket approach. I could just as easily and wrongheadedly cite a market failure as a reason we need a dictator in charge of everything.

          1. Tony|7.26.15 @ 12:27PM|#
            “You’re still coming from the premise that there is such thing as an unregulated market and that it is a kind of default.”

            Yes, IOWs, we get along without scum like you imposing your stupidity on the rest of us.

          2. Believe me, you’re not very smart. Neither are the Reptilian Overlords.

            And, because you’re retarded, you think the rest of us are as retarded as you are.

          3. You yourself will often go on long rants discussing the general, vague failures of markets, without restricting your monologues to specific policy choices and their merits. If someone has a tough time in a free market, that’s all you need to know that we need socialism, apparently, without mention of the policy choices and their merits.

            Anyway, there’s no reason you can’t both examine policies on a case by case basis and compare the general properties of the system in question and what it delivers, and comparing to other systems.

            For example, you may think it only makes sense to consider how medicaid is good policy and the military industrial complex is bad policy, as separate policies. However, from public choice theory, it’s equally valid to point out that we have a system that doesn’t give you a personal choice between those two policies, or in respect to those two policies. Instead, we have a system that’s incentivized to give you no choice but to support both policies, regardless of what you think. In that case, analyzing the system only in terms of analyzing those policies and making a good/bad decision for each is incomplete and, in many ways, irrelevant: the system is designed to give you both, not one or the other, independently.

            1. I don’t see why. Other countries have national healthcare but not a giant money suck war machine. Our policy combination is totally the result of conscious choices made by policymakers we elected. Much more than someone who simply believes in normal democratic governance, blame for our choices can be placed on people preaching small government, which always seems to mean social programs first and military programs never. That ideological bent is also to blame for the power that private financial interests have over public policy, of course. Why do you think I am so against it?

              1. How would you propose implementing and paying for it? How do you assure quality? I am of the feeling you may be lazy and just want to check the box with nationalized health care without thinking if it may be worse.

              2. Other countries have national healthcare but not a giant money suck war machine.

                Yes, and other countries have very different systems of government, and our system of government is part of the problem. Instead of addressing that issue, most people over-simplify the situation and reduce everything to policy wish lists, like “health care, good!” “military, bad!”.

                Our policy combination is totally the result of conscious choices made by policymakers we elected.

                Over-simplification. Our policy is made by policymakers, and that in no way captures their incentives, or t he incentives of voters. See public choice theory. Trying to reduce everything to policy preferences ignores multiple dimensions. But, it’s great if you want to pretend that all of our problems are the small government types.

                For example, Bernie Sanders says it’s a shame we have starving children in an economy with… 21 deodorants. Note he doesn’t say how shameful it is we have starving children with a government that spends half a trillion dollars a year on the military for “security”. You say something like that, special interests perk up their ears, as do congressmen with bases in their districts, etc. Better to whine about some vague free marketness, leaving everyone guessing who’s going to be the loser, than actually point out what the government does. Even Bernie can’t address the reality, yet we expect them to solve big problems in an optimal way.

                1. Ahem.

                  23 deodorants.

                  Please get your facts straight.

                  Bernie said 23.

                  /evil Bernie grin.

              3. Other countries have national healthcare because the U.S. is providing them the money-suck war machine free of charge. If the socialist shitholes of Europe had to defend themselves from aggressive dictators… well, we’ve seen how it went, haven’t we?

                1. The US is also providing the improvements in health care which the free-rider countries simply adopt without cost.

                  1. ^^ This. So much this.

                    The profit motive in the US drives most medical innovation in the world, then the rest of the socialized west benefits from medical advances driven by American dollars. Then, shitweasels like Tony have the audacity to claim that the remnants of capitalism left in American medicine are the source of medical need.

          4. Tony, there may have been, now and again, men in positions of power who regularly made intelligent decisions about regulating commerce, uninfluenced by their own gain. If so they ahve been freaking rare. In the 19th century there may have been one or two ecnomic dislocations taht were entirely of private origin. In the 20th and 21st, every time any part of the conomy has laid a smelly, rotten egg, there has been witless government meddling behind it.

            Top Men are just men. There is no reason to believe that they will be more honest, or less self-seeking than any other men.

            1. Applying empiric processing onto a subjective domain is like driving a car with square wheels.

              Economic “value” is subjectively determined by consensus of multiple parties’ subjective cost/benefit analysis.

              Empiricism’s quality is based on the accuracy of the data, the accuracy of the model, and doesn’t care who does the processing, it will be the same. So central planners can get it right.

              Relativism’s quality is based on emotional judgments like reciprocity, liking, and social proof. The accuracy of the data is less important than viewpoint of the actor. The value is in the node, not in the computation.

              Whenever you have bad or imperfect data, relativism is better. You have to guess when you don’t have all the info to an urgent question.

              Economics is inexorably relative. Just like culture and entertainment. These will always have more wisdom when ruled by distributed consciousness. whenever you try to centrally plan relativistic environments you get effects like driving a car with square wheels. You get severe market corrections, instead of tiny ones. Distributed make tons of tiny errors with imperfect info, but they gravitate towards what is true over time. Centralized make few tiny errors, but when they mess up, its huge.

              (cont)

              1. Distributed fuzzy data or centralized harsh data. Cars with square wheels go up and down because they are using straight lines where it should be curved.

                These principles are not native to economics. My hope is that when tech sufficiently distributes culture that centrally planning civilizations by SJWs will become impotent.

                It’s not just economics that is being centrally planned. Centrally planning subjective systems leads to painful pendulum effects. It’s how we have upper middle class white women claiming they are oppressed (and literally believing it). It’s just a cycle overcorrection from men having all the power, and culture central planners making rules with impunity. Feminists are a market distortion.

            2. Could be true, but my point is that even if you have a laissez-faire system, Top Men are the ones implementing it. And that’s the system most perfectly designed to benefit Top Men and only Top Men, so it’s an odd complaint.

              1. Ah, but the fewer Top Men who are allowed to feel they Know Bettermthan the Great Unwashed, the better. If for no better reason than the miserable record of Top Men.

              2. As opposed to regulation and taxes….which has resulted in what you described

              3. True, but the point is to have less of them. As others have pointed out.

              4. Nonsense. Those top men got there not through force and coercion and not through blackmail or bribes, They only got to be Top Men because they provided something that someone else wanted. Because many someones wanted it.

                Freely, voluntarily. Without force.

                Why can’t you get it?

          5. “Market”, in the sense it’s used on this site, way predates government. Our ancestors may have been using labor or food instead of pieces of paper but they were still trading with each other to get things they wanted or needed

      2. You’re funny. . . No, really, you’re hilarious.

        “The concept of markets doesn’t make sense in the absence of government which define their parameters . . .”

        “How much deception is allowed?” Errh, what? Deceiving what to what?

        “Are child slaves okay”? Gee, ask those children’s parents. [PLUS, really stupid analogy]

        “Monopolies?” Like, USPS?

        Markets have existed long before govt butted its fucking nose into them. Funny how you conveniently skipped over 29,000 years of human history.

        1. During which of those 29,000 years would you choose to live if you could? Before or after the invention of big government?

          1. I auve to say, I think that Chipper makes a false distinction between the rule of the dominant Alpha Male proto human, and modern bullyboy Government.

          2. Which years would you choose? Didn’t you say the United states right now was soul crushing?

          3. False analogy again, Tony- really?

            Learn to use logic instead of butchering it next time you post.

            You write like a 4 year old.

      3. “The concept of markets doesn’t make sense in the absence of government that defines their parameters.”

        Are child slaves ok? Monopolies?”

        Can you be any less self-aware?

        The government SETS the very parameters that lead to the slave trade and monopolies. The second, moreover, the government outlaws something (for whatever stupid reasons they come up with) it creates black markets to which A) they lose potential tax dollars B) create criminals out of people who are anything but and C) increases mob activity that can quickly get out of control.

        Why people don’t grasp this is beyond me.

      4. Here in the real world, there isn’t a zero-sum competition between government and markets. … Having a laissez-faire market is a choice made my a society.

        By what “society”? What defines “a society”? What “government” are you talking about?

        See, libertarians aren’t advocating the absence of regulation or government, what we are advocating is voluntary self-government. That is, rather than having membership in “a society” imposed on us or government forced on us by some bullshit voting schemes, we want to have the individual choice of which society we want to be part of and what kind of government that society is governed by.

        So, Tony, if you want to be part of a socialist society, good for you! You have full libertarian support for that. Just don’t try to force that choice on others.

        But, of course, you realize that your socialist society couldn’t exist by exploiting other people. You need doctors, scientists, engineers, managers, administrators, educators, and they are generally not willing to make due with the scraps socialist societies hand out to them given a choice. And that’s why you need to, and want to, force others to join your socialist utopia at gunpoint and cook up various rationalizations for that violence.

        1. voluntary self-government.

          I say that’s what we already have, and we have voluntarily chosen to dispense with a laissez-faire system, because it failed and was horrible for most everyone.

          What is different about voluntariness in your system and in the real world? Instead of having majority votes for decisions that affect everyone collectively, you require unanimous consent? What you’re describing is without form. It seems like what we already have except you get everything you want somehow.

          1. How is this a laissez Faire system and what would you implement? How and why would it be better?

          2. In what ways was what it horrible for most everyone and how…when you above were trying to get people to admit living in an Era of big government is better? Which is it?

          3. Would you approve of gas being thrown in jail if the majority wanted it that way?

          4. What you’re describing is without form.

            Correct: it is without the oppressive and totalitarian form of the modern nation state that divides people up into arbitrary groups based on accidents of birth and then has a charade of voting among three hundred million people decide fundamental questions of how people live.

            It seems like what we already have except you get everything you want somehow.

            Not at all. What I’m advocating is simply local government with free movement. So, for example, you could choose to build your little socialist enclave and a few miles down the road, I choose to live in a little economic laissez-faire enclave.

            The reason that is intolerable to people like you is because you know full well that your socialist enclave would get stuck with all the losers and fail. You know that because that’s exactly what happened when socialism was tried in the East Bloc.

            Actually, libertarianism in the US could be easy: create a few autonomous regions with less restrictive laws, lower taxes, and fewer regulations, kind of like Hong Kong in China, and see where people would choose to live.

          5. If you advocate “majority rule”‘ you’re really advocating for mobocracy. And let me remind you – Hitler was democratically elected.

            Your form of collectivism, like all progressives ideals, is fascism, pure and simple. As long as you can vote in a smooth-talking government official to bullshit his way into power, government can take all the wealth, voice and autonomy from the hapless minority.

            You always do that, Tony. Either with such innocuous words as the rich need to pay their “fair share” or scapegoating some billionaire as being the source of all the problems, you socialists always do this.

            For being a minority yourself, you’re incredibly hypocritical.

      5. How much deception is allowed? Are child slaves ok? Monopolies?

        People do not deceive if they are competing against others because others would get the deceiver’s business patronage. Slavery has been explicitly outlawed and was unconstitutional even before that. Children should be free to work if they so choose. There has not been a monopoly that was not facilitated by government interference in the market. So what are you blathering about?

        choice made my a society

        “Society” does not make choices. Individuals do.

        human well-being

        Define this. Also, who gets to determine its parameters? Should individuals determine for themselves if they are well-off or should someone else, presumably government, tell them what is good for them?

    4. Free market are preferable simply because individuals are adults and their actions are their own responsibility. I believe government underestimates the American people and coddles them “for their own good”.

      But, honestly – if the FDA disappeared tomorrow, would Americans keel over dead from consuming unsafe medication? What business wants to deliberately harm their customers and expect to stay in business?

      Either you believe that free people are best in determining their own lives, or you do not. Yes, it is that binary and no, there are no in-betweens, no “what ifs”, no “yeah buts . . . “.

    5. The problem with free market theory isn’t anything in the theory. The problem is that free market advocates tend to be ostriches when it comes to understanding/advocating the FREE part of free markets – in practice. The reality is that government exists. And it IS going to be coopted by those who want to tilt the playing field, cartelize things, preserve the status quo, protect themselves from competition, get bailed out when they fail, etc. And the more they succeed, the more likely it is that those who DON’T benefit from (and indeed are harmed by) all that crap will turn to government to fix the problems of NON-FREE markets (and that group can advocate everything from communism to social welfare to anti-corporatism to most every other approach to fix the very real problem).

      Until those who understand and advocate free markets focus like a freaking laser on getting rid of that first group of people/benefits/coopting; then they will be correctly ignored by the second group of people.

      1. Yes, we need to focus like a laser on where the government fucks up the market and what mechanics are causing it to do so.

        If we focus on the people who use the government to co-opt the system, we will lose, as for whatever reason, Progs are fucking morons who will call for more government to any issue besides one where you can prove the problem is the government, not crony-capitalist pigs.

        1. No. You gotta focus on the people who use the govt to coopt the system. That is the ONLY way that anyone will believe that you are in favor of an actual free market rather than simply some toady for everything in the status quo that distorts free markets. You seem to think everyone else is some prog activist. Reality is that 95% of people don’t pay much attention to politics or economics or the proper functioning of free markets in the abstract AT ALL. You are not going to ‘educate’ them – because they don’t have the fucking time in their lives to waste on that.

          So either you show them how the actual markets are being distorted – and get a chance to sell your soundbite solution. Or the progs will show them how things are distorted – and be the only ones offering a soundbite solution. You fucking libertarians. You praise competition in the abstract – but you sure as hell don’t practice it in the real world where it counts. Like a bunch of freaking cloistered 13th century monks arguing about free markets (or angels on the head of a pin) while holed up in a monastery

          1. Hey dickbag.

            My point is that if you only focus on the crony-capitalists, progs, being morons, think the problem is capitalism itself, and look for socialist solutions.

            I don’t know what planet you live on, but when you show someone how those crony capitalists wouldn’t have an advantage if the government got the fuck out, they will almost always cede the point. Uber is a great example that everyone can relate to.

            That is not to say to say you shouldn’t go after crony capitalists, but the point should always be made that they only exist at the behest of the government.

            And what the fuck are you even talking about in your last sentence? Only praise competition in the abstract? If you can’t follow along, maybe you should go back to Hot Air or Salon and associate with people on your mental level.

            1. Jayzus H Christ. Pretend that you are making the libertarian case for no regulation – to the President of the US – during the meatpacking/Jungle stuff that led to the creation of the FDA. It’s the only ‘regulation history’ that is probably pretty widely known – even though most of what people know is obviously inaccurate.

              The reality is that Rothbard was one of the few libertarians to even mention that in one of his books. But he skimmed over the actual history – and instead settled for some trite falsehoods that just make him look like a corporate tool. ie – ‘no business will sell tainted meat to its customers – makes no business sense’. Well guess who ate that tainted canned meat during the Spanish American War – Colonel Teddy Roosevelt. See ‘beef scandal’ then.

              You wonder why no one takes libertarians seriously? Because libertarians are lazy sacks of pus who can’t even be bothered to learn actual history beyond just easy propaganda – 100 years after the fact. There is an interpretation of that time that absolutely supports a libertarian solution – but it does not involve defending the fucking meatpackers business practices in a ‘free market’. Until libertarians can get involved when the issue is happening; they will deservedly be irrelevant

              1. I have Multiple Sclerosis. I have seen many friends and colleagues with MS suffer needlessly – and die – because of your “wonderful” FDA.

                The MS drug I am taking was first discovered and tested in the 1950s. It wasn’t until 2003 it was approved by the FDA.

                It costed $ billions and in the meantime, hundreds of thousands of PWMS were crippled because of your loving government. And died waiting for FDA approval.

                So – thanks asshole. Next time you see a wheelchair, think of this conversation.

      2. And it IS going to be coopted by those who want to tilt the playing field, cartelize things, preserve the status quo, protect themselves from competition, get bailed out when they fail, etc

        Of course. That’s obvious and mainstream free market economics.

        Until those who understand and advocate free markets focus like a freaking laser on getting rid of that first group of people/benefits/coopting; then they will be correctly ignored by the second group of people.

        What do you mean by “until”? That is the primary message of free market advocates: government: stop passing new laws regulating the market, eliminate existing laws, and reduce taxes and spending. What else do you f*cking want?

        1. Yet he thinks the soul crushing united states is laissez faire

          1. Well, the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom is probably a good place to point him to:

            http://www.heritage.org/index/ranking

            The US still isn’t awful, but ironically, nations that Americans often think of as highly progressive and big welfare states actually enjoy more economic freedom than the US.

  2. Any rational person would see this stuff as a given. Progs being irrational scum, though have a different take on coercion…that and a religious faith in Top Men.

    1. Irrational, envious scum.

      Never forget envious.

    2. Perhaps you’ve found the root of their incomprehension, then. Advocating free markets requires assuming that, most of the time at least, people will make rational economic decisions. “Progs”, recognizing that they themselves are not rational, and projecting their irrationality onto everyone else, reject that assumption, in the hope that such rare rational people as exist can be put in charge to save us from ourselves.

      It’s similar to liberals’ attitudes about welfare programs vs. private charity. “Progs”, being stingy and possessive people, are incapable of believing that anyone would share with the less fortunate in need unless coerced.

      Leftism: the belief that most people are crazy, selfish scum, and that therefore the only way to a just society is to put those few superior people we have in charge of everything so they can force the rest of us to behave sanely and virtuously.

    3. It’s the progressive fallacy of “the least of us”‘. Yes, YOU (with your white male privilege) are capable of making rational market choices, yes YOU are smart enough to correlate your actions and consequences of those actions – but WHAT ABOUT THE LEAST OF US?

      Government HAS to step in – because of THE LEAST OF US!!!!

      1. I believe they go further than that?MOST of us are the “least of us”, incapable of rationality or generosity, and it’s only a small minority of THE BEST OF US who are qualified to make decisions for us.

        1. And let me guess – “the best of us” reside at “Versailles on the Potomac”

          1. Or, in the School of Liberal Arts at any major university.

            1. In order to end white privilege, all Harvard alums must be hung by the entrails of all Yale alums.

  3. Finally, a story on why liberals love the state. It’s not that we have inherent rights like libertarians believe, progressive believe the state grants rights. That way always leads to totalitarianism.

    Note the difference In the gay marriage issue. Libertarians think gay people should not be stopped from choosing to marry. Progressives believe that gay marriage being legal means the government gets to force others to accept and participate in it.

    Progressives demand conformance and define group identity to control, because that’s what they are hung up on. Sometimes they want the same things is libertarians want but they really want them for the wrong reason, always for the increase of state power.

    With immigration libertarians and want open borders to allow for immigrants to find a better life and contribute to society. Progressives want voters that are more inclined to communism who can win them power, with the goal being single party rule.

    1. Yeah, I’m pretty excited too, hopefully the commetariat gives Reason reason to keep printing articles like this. This is the type of article that non-libertarians really need to read.

      1. It’s been a refreshing change that week or so.

        1. grr. that = the last.

      2. It’s so direct, straight-forward and common-sensical, maybe Reason believes it is a waste of time.

        2+2 =4 and coercion does not a prosperous economy make. It’s fundamental.

  4. Free markets have the ability to produce enormous amounts of feedback information, which alows those markets to immediately change their actions in order to meet consumer needs. If for example, a new product suddenly falls out of favor,that information is almost instantly knownby the producers and retailers, leeading some to stop producing , some to cut prices, etc.

    1. True. This is one reason that centrally planned systems can’t work. The information needed to run a planned system as well as a free market system requires the planners to hold all of that information in their heads, but it doesn’t fit, its too much.

      Market signals are an immense amount of information which is what makes markets work so well.

      Progressives lust and admiration of control and power make them blind to the fact that they can’t compete against free markets. Their general mean spiritedness then marks markets for destruction. Conveniently for them all of Marx’s insipid drivel confirms their beliefs and encourages their war on capitalism.

  5. Thank you for sparing us of Shikha and Richman in one day.

  6. “In sum, coercion imposes deadweight losses and creates winners and losers, which is the polar opposite of the win-win exchanges in markets”

    What ? Who is this Chris Edwards guy who wrote this drivel ?

    I wasted 10 minutes at the store yesterday just trying to decide which deoderant would be the best for me. That’s 10 minutes wasted on a specific consumer choice, multiply that choice by 300 million ( I’m excluding the 30 million or so enviro jihadist lefties who don’t use deoderant) and that’s…ummm … that’s a lot of time wasted (maths are hard) that could be spent in constructive pursuits for the benefit of the collective. The masses yearn for someone to decide which deoderant is best for us all.

    / yea! Bernie in 2016 yea!

    P.S. Due to the nefarious doings of some Kulac Wrecker, the People’s Village #30 was issued only left foot boots this year. Any other people’s village that also suffered from this Wrecker’s crimes against the people and who have only right foot boots and wish to trade contact local party Chairman Jackland Ace who for a small fee from each of us, will arrange the swap. If glorious Chairman Jackland Ace has been supplanted by his conniving underling Tony, expect a slightly larger fee and the shameful use of one of your younger sons..

  7. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.online-jobs9.com

  8. Libertarianism is so fucking stupid.

    1. Someone must have came along and reminded you to breathe. I was really hoping that wouldn’t happen, again.

      1. Well I have figured out how to use my nose for that purpose.

        1. I can only imagine how bad it must stink after you pulled it out of Obama’s ass.

        2. You don’t use your nose to breathe, moron. You use your lungs and your airways. Go ahead – plug your nose and breathe through your mouth. See – amazing trick, ain’t it?

          1. I assumed Tony always breathed through his mouth. Because adenoids?

            1. Oh, that’s what Obama’s ass is called these days – adenoids. Tony HAS to breath through his mouth because his nose is otherwise occupied and up Adenoidville.

              “Woncha take me to Adenoidville?”

    2. Yeah, because we believe people (even the commie Tonys of this world), are perfectly capable of managing their lives and make adult decisions on their own.

      Silly us for trusting you over the Reptilian Overlords.

    3. Everything for the Hive and nothing but the Hive.

    4. Can you go into detail why personal and economic freedom is stupid? What would you propose? You may be a control freak

      1. Tony’s problem is that he has no faith in the intelligence of the American people. Maybe he’s right – Obama got elected POTUS.

        But, I prefer to treat Obama’s election as a “Black Swan” event and the American people won’t be fooled again.

        1. I know progs honest enough to admit that’s why they want government control. Except they feel EVERYONE can’t be trusted to make the ‘right’ decisions. The government is there not to perfect forcing people to make the ‘right’ decision but to try to get as many people to do so to the extent they feel, determine or coerce what is ‘right’.

          Might is right…for the greater good.

          1. Like SF’s ban on sugary soda drinks.

            Only the progtards say they simply wish to “educate you” – that sugary soda causes obesity, dental cavities, etc etc.

            Because, even though there is ample information on the calorie count and sugar content “on the can of soda itself” – well, you’re not getting the message. You keep on drinking the soda (fool).

            If you only would quit drinking soda and submit to fascism, you’d make government’s job so much easier.

      2. I believe in individual personal and economic freedom. A lot more than you do. You say the words and the slogans, but I actually believe in having a society that delivers them in practice. The practical reality is that a laissez-faire system distributes all the real freedom to the very wealthy and leaves very little for anyone else. Libertarians care only about theoretical freedom. You could be free if you somehow manage to escape poverty and improbably become very wealthy! I prefer actual freedom for all people, that’s all. So it requires some distribution from the top down. Oh well. It’s less exploitative than what happens when there is none.

        1. Can describe how you promote personal and economic freedom when you frequently advocate for government deciding what is best for everyone else?

          Do you think the system in place right now is laissez faire? What would you classify the United states as? What would you propose and how have you determined it would work?

          What are some laissez Faire systems currently in place?

        2. You cannot have freedom and liberty when your have government guns pointed at your head. So quit saying you want liberty or that you want economic freedom. You do not.

          What you want is a social construct that is a fantasy ,- a wise and just govt that knows just how to and how much to tax from the “better off” to redistribute to the “lesser off”. It’s beyond stupidity. It’s ignoring the facts – over 50 years of your big govt ideas have not created Utopia .

          A wise man would acknowledge that central planning failed, that it has not worked, is not working and will NEVER work.

          But that wise man would not be you.

        3. Actually, what you believe and Carlos Danger (my cat) believes are identical. He also wants freedom from want.

          He wants the “wealthy” (me) to pay my fair share of “taxes” for his upkeep because I’m better off and he’s just a dumb animal who was born in a racist homo sapien society and hence, he is worse off.

        4. So other than that “point guns at the rich people, steal their money and give it to other people so they can live better lives” bit, you’re totally on board for individual personal and economic freedom.

          Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, what did you think of the play?

    5. That you have been here for years and haven’t learned a single fucking thing is pathetic.

    6. I believe you should be exiled to Venezuela for 5 years. Then when you will come back, grovelling, on your knees (BEGGING to get in, just like an “undocumented” ) you’ll know just WHO is the “so fucking stupid” one here.

  9. Fifth:
    In a free exchange, both sides gain, so there is a net gain in value to humanity.
    In a coerced exchange, at least one side loses, so there is at least less gain and quite likely a net loss in value to humanity.

  10. There’s nothing “liberal” about prog-fascism.

    1. They think that just because they don’t go around gassing Jews that they’re not fascists.

  11. “Decisionmaking in markets is a reality-based system guided by individual preferences.”

    Yes. People pursue the things that interest them, and get better at those things naturally because they interest them.

    I talk about this a lot on the latest episode of Local Liberty:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=anfTpgqS-tM

  12. Tony since you claim that markets can’t exist without the government. Can you explain why black markets of guns, drugs and back in the day alcohol are successful despite government having no influence over them? Apparently people produce and want stuff without the government telling them they do

    1. “Can you explain why black markets of guns, drugs and back in the day alcohol are successful despite government having no influence over them?”

      Much further back, there was the string of markets known now as the Silk Road. What influence gov’ts had over the entire length was limited to local protection rackets. Small scale government theft compared to the current wholesale process.
      Often enough, the ‘path’ would change when a local extortionist got too greedy, much as people now avoid taxes.

    2. Which aspects of black markets do you find so appealing that you think we should make all markets like them?

      Of course people trade with or without formal government. But somebody’s gonna enforce rules. I’d rather have a democratically accountable government doing it than mob bosses.

      1. There is no difference between your so-called “accountable” government and the mob boss.

        No, wait – the government is worse.

        The government is a monopoly that you cannot escape. The government has the guns and the jails. And the government lies as it claims to be on the side of angels. At least the mob is honest when they admit they’re devils

      2. You said markets didn’t exist without government. I showed you this isn’t true. How have you determined they are best for making rules?

        1. He hasn’t but he will never admit it.

          Tony has been saying the same thing over and over and over again. A typical one-note socialist/democrat/progressive.

          I remember reading Tony’s responses 4 years ago and those responses are the same today. Tony is beyond stubborn – to admit he is wrong would be an incredible loss of face. So he just yells MORE GOVT more loudly, hoping to entice the rest of us to the dark side (like, that will ever happen, Tony or no Tony)’

          1. Somehow it equals freedom. I think he was trying to argue how great big government has been while how terrible laissez faire is at the same time for the United states. His head must hurt

  13. One must remember that inequality, diversity, etc. are merely the excuses for liberal policies. The real reason is always to maximize government power (or improve their chances of winning so that they can do so). Nothing else matters to them.

  14. I’m waiting for the Shikha Dalmia piece assuring us that getting government coercion out of markets is really, really bad because in the end it will result in more government coercion in markets.

    Or something.

  15. We need to destroy your freedoms in order to save them! /prog

  16. Tony do you think more government results in more freedom? Would you advocate for a usSr type system?

    1. I don’t believe in the construction of more vs. less government. What are we talking about? A percentage of GDP? Isn’t it about what government does in each specific instance? I think there should be “less” government with respect to policing people’s drug use, but “more” government with respect to regulating healthcare and energy. Not from any ideological obsession, but because markets alone are inadequate to the social task of providing universal cost-effective healthcare and clean energy in our specific environment. I think we are intelligent enough to decide whether the market is delivering optimal results. Libertarians would seem to have us accept whatever the market delivers as by definition optimal, even if it is mass illness and widespread pollution. If those things can be dealt with better by “central planning,” and they can because we have evidence of it, then nobody has any excuse for preferring the less efficient method, only ideological fixation.

      1. “but because markets alone are inadequate to the social task of providing universal cost-effective healthcare . . . “. Health care is a market, just like everything else. And that market, when left totally alone and free, is more than adequate.

        What you want is to cheat death – and you think redistribution is the best way to collectively cheat death.

        I’m sorry – but the world with which you describe is a nightmare. It is not kindness that drives government bureaucrats and politicians to take from Paul to give to Peter, Mary and all of the other dwarfs – it is hubris (the false believe they can use force for good) and it is power (they’re from the government, dammit)!

        Basically, Tony – you think you’re this progressive, do-gooding SJW – looking out for the little dwarf who made be eaten by those mean market trolls.

        But if you are such an angel, why do you use guns and jails to get your way? Huh? Why do you happily drive people to bankruptcy just on the hope that someone else will benefit from the dried and rotting carcass?

        What you are, however – is evil. Pure, unadulterated evil.

  17. Tony you seem pretty intelligent. Can you lay out what policies you support and why they are a good thing? Trying to learn as thinking I’m leaning a way from being a libertarian. Would like to hear what you would change?

  18. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out.
    This is wha- I do…… ?????? http://www.online-jobs9.com

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