January 27, 2009
My post “Vaguely Defined Property Rights Indeed” was, at its core and in its title, a response to Peter Klein’s involvement in the “conflation debate”. Klein pointed out that cooperatives (his all-purpose stand-in for labor-managed firms) “all suffer from serious incentive, information, and governance problems, almost none of which are mentioned in the anti-corporation libertarian literature.”
Klein was referring to his 2007 article “Vaguely Defined Property Rights” where he essentially argues, using Mike Cook as a primary source, against the LMF on consequentialist grounds. There is a danger that by engaging him on this level, I may be validating the importance of efficiency over what essentially is an issue of inalienable rights, the proper imputation of responsibility and property appropriation. During the Abolition movement, it would have been unnecessary to argue about the relative efficiency of slavery for example. That said, I will carry on nevertheless.
I had the good fortune to discuss these concerns with David Ellerman, whose ideas I referenced in the previous post. Therefore, I will present here a fictional conversation in five acts between Peter (in the form of his article) and David (in excerpts from my conversation with him). Hat tip to David for allowing me publish this private correspondence and providing my readers with rare and valuable insight. Read the rest of this entry »
January 16, 2009
When you ask most capitalists what a capitalist system is, they will usually say a system of free markets and private property.
I confess to being perplexed by this. I’m certainly no expert in philology but it seems a very strange choice of root word for such a definition. It is important, I think, to remind ourselves of the real economic meaning of capital. Read the rest of this entry »
January 11, 2009
For some reason, there seems to be a surge of interest in the issue of hiring hitmen and whether the person doing the hiring is guilty of some crime from a libertarian perspective. For example, a recent video on YouTube by Morty14 spends ten minutes “defending the undefendable” as he puts it: the person hiring the hitman is not guilty of any crime.
Now I personally think that the issue is one of the least important that modern libertarians face and I can hardly believe I am taking the time to engage it. How many hitmen have you hired lately? But I think there are some important and worthwhile concepts that come out of this example. Read the rest of this entry »