The Vulgar Alarm Clock

March 27, 2010

As a market anarchist, I appreciate the general spirit of this story. But could it have been any more vulgar? TWC (the owners, that is), General Mills, major auto makers, Middle East oil, the banking and insurance industries, Fed-Ex…what do any of these have to do with the free market? Also, there was an odd mention of tap water (state-provided, no doubt) and public schools, which doesn’t exactly “sweep the leg” of the opponent.

Bryan Caplan writes:

Most libertarians condemn the public’s anti-market reflexes. Left-libertarians reply, in essence, is: “It’s only natural for the public to condemn the unholy alliance of big business and big government that passes for ‘the free market’ nowadays.”

The key problem with this position: Normal people think that government is the solution, not the cause, of monopoly problems.  Before I studied economics, I repeatedly heard about government’s struggle against monopoly – and never heard that government might be part of the problem.  I’ve been arguing about monopoly for two decades – and teaching about monopoly for the last thirteen years.  As far as I can tell, the idea that government habitually creates monopolies on purpose is largely limited to free-market economists and the hard left.

It’s a perfectly valid argument. There’s only one problem. I don’t know of any left-libertarian that actually argues anything close to the “in essence” reply Caplan claims: that left-libertarians say that normal people are largely against the free-market because they are aware that it is really an “unholy alliance of big business and big government.” Read the rest of this entry »

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