Wednesday, January 18, 2006


Critics 2

In the section titled "Economic Criticism" under "Criticism of Libertarianism," the goal is presumably to poke holes in libertarian economics. Instead, what that section turns out to be is a discussion of the relationship between free markets and political liberty. And as I could have guessed, the one concrete argument that is posed against "libertarian economics," the case of Chile in the late 20th Century, turns out to support the idea that free markets bring political liberty.

The section gives no evidence of flaws in "libertarian economics," but criticizes a few "Chicago school" economists for drawing up a fascist constitution. Since when was economics a complete guide for writing constitutions? Can you find anywhere in "free-market" or "libertarian economics" anything remotely approving of stifling free speech?

For a more interesting critique, read what Seth Finkelstein(?) thinks about libertarians. The best part is his assertion that it is perfectly consistent with libertarian philosophy to allow businesses to discriminate against customers by race, gender, age, whatever. Is it? (I realize this might open a can of worms, but I think it's worth it.)

It would seem consistent with libertarianism for people to be able to discriminate as one so chooses. The counter to that is the choice of the consumers to take their money elsewhere. Some people like ‘private clubs’ and some consumers will make the dishonorable reputation of the business known to many. The key is that if the business suffers, then it suffers for its choices.

The thing is, currently people are forced not to discriminate and who knows if that really stops discrimination or if the businesses are just not able to serve their selected audiences as well.

My opinion is that we discriminate all the time and that there is nothing wrong with it. If you become a bigot or a racist, perhaps you have some issues, but we all discriminate all the time whenever there is a choice to be made.
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