Showing posts from July, 2013

Libertarian Socialism: One of Many Libertarian Theories

In my recent defenses of "libertarianism" and classical liberalism, I have stressed that classical liberalism cannot be reduced to the economics of market capitalism. Although I happen to embrace Austrian economic theories and basic capitalism, I do not assume that capitalism is the only way to promote freedom. Corporatism and crony capitalism certainly do not promote or protect freedom.

While personal freedom and individual sovereignty delineate libertarian philosophical principles, there is no single "right" way to pursue these aims. I happen to believe that Austrian economists were more likely to be correct about social and political issues than many other thinkers, but if I don't consider other views then I might overlook an even better path towards freedom.

Libertarian socialism is a utopian philosophy, certainly, but it should be considered when we ask, "What systems promote individual freedom?" This raises questions about what is "freed…

The Astonishing Collapse of Work In America

The following article is simply depressing:
The Astonishing Collapse of Work In America
Nicholas Eberstadt holds the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute and is the author of A Nation of Takers: America's Entitlement Epidemic (2012). Today just under 12 million men and women are officially classified as unemployed, roughly twice as many as in early 2000. But if our national employment ratio today were as high as in early 2000, when this measure reached its zenith, about 15 million more Americans would be working today. And remember: over 10 million of today's men and women with jobs are working fewer hours than they want to-well over twice as many as in early 2000. When we look at the jobs problem this way, we see it is vastly bigger than the official unemployment rate implies. How bad is "real" unemployment and underemployment? Compare today to the not-so-distant past, when a much higher percentage of adults worked.
By these fi…

Taxes Way Up… Spending Down, Slightly

Over at Reason, Nick Gillespie offers his usual common sense supported by statistics.
What Austerity Looks Like in 2013: Taxes Up 14%, Spending Down 4% - Hit & Run :  As we've noted here before, there's good austerity and bad austerity. The good (read: effective at reducing debt-to-GDP ratios and not crashing an economy) focuses on cutting spending, liberalizing labor laws, reforming entitlements, and either keeping taxes flat or reducing their drag on economic activity. The bad (read: what has generally been tried in Europe over the past few years) involves raising taxes while increasing spending or barely trimming it. That one-two punch stretches out recovery by diverting money and decision-making out of the private sector where it's more likely to benefit more people. All austerity is not created equal and it's clear that austerity which relies on tax hikes more than spending cuts almost always comes a cropper. That's not to say that cutting spen…

It's not All About the Money

Profit. Wealth. Return. "Success."

The most troubling trend among "libertarian" organizations and vocal "proponents" of libertarianism and classical liberalism is a near-worship of money and its accumulation.

Too many supposed libertarians confuse "the market" with freedom and liberty. They assume that the market, either the messed-up rigged marketplace we have today or a mythical laissez-faire market, is the foundation of classical liberalism. Usually, these are politicians trying to argue for an ethical system grounded in competitive market theory, or members of think tanks with a vested interest in conflating freedom with markets.

The truth is simple: freedom is about the sovereignty of the self. This freedom to make good or bad choices, the right to be whatever you wish to be, does include the potential to market your ideas and creations, but there is no mandate to participate in a capitalist economy (or crony capitalist or corporatist …