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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/14839/what-assange-believes/

What Assange Believes

December 2, 2010 by

It’s not correct to put me in any one philosophical or economic camp, because I’ve learned from many. But one is American libertarianism, market libertarianism. So as far as markets are concerned I’m a libertarian, but I have enough expertise in politics and history to understand that a free market ends up as monopoly unless you force them to be free. WikiLeaks is designed to make capitalism more free and ethical.


An Interview With WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange

{ 36 comments }

J. Murray December 2, 2010 at 7:48 am

“I have enough expertise in politics and history to understand that a free market ends up as monopoly unless you force them to be free”

I’m not quite sure what he means by this. Monopolies in a free market are either good for both the consumer and worker or will naturally collapse on themselves. The former because the only way to maintain a monopoly is to keep wages high and prices low, thus destroying the profit margin. The latter allows competitors to show up and pay higher wages, produce better quality, and offer lower prices, undercutting business.

augusto December 2, 2010 at 8:31 am

what he means is the observed tendency for companies to collude with governments – eg., IP, patents, granted monopolies, private-public partnerships, “defense contracts”, and so on.

the antidote, Assange believes, is to force companies and governments to be more transparent. Wikileaks is an attempt to do just that.

choppa December 4, 2010 at 11:53 am

It means that industrialists in a free market will try to pass legislation or get their way into obtaining monopolies. Monopolies can be caused by market failures, technological monopolies, or state sponsored monopolies.

jon December 2, 2010 at 8:19 am

“force them to be free.” well he might be talking about the state doing so, but you don’t see him working at the FTC, do you?

you force them to be free.” perhaps he means individuals keep self-important “officials” honest by exercising defensive force. perhaps he views leaks as the defensive antithesis of fraud? i suppose espionage is really just fraud.

i don’t think he’s talking economics whatsoever, there.

Fephisto December 2, 2010 at 8:19 am

From the sounds of it, Assange might be a crypto-anarchist.

I…I kinda hope he wins this one, using secret servers and bringing government intelligence services to their knees.

Ben December 2, 2010 at 8:32 am

What’s this business about a monopoly invariably arising without forcing the market to be free? Is he simply advocating a separation State and Business? I hope so. I hope he doesn’t believe in that old lefty canard about monopolies being inevitable.

Jeffrey Tucker December 2, 2010 at 8:35 am

He seems like what might be called a pro-market left libertarian – which is pretty good. Lots of things pass through his servers that demonstrate a very close relationship between government and business so one can see why he might not be pro-capitalist, depending on how you define that term.

Daniel Hewitt December 2, 2010 at 9:30 am

Aren’t the “pro-market” and “left” prefixes contradictory?

Fephisto December 2, 2010 at 10:15 am

Pro-market is inherently pro-trade is inherently anti-war is inherently ‘left’.

Greg December 2, 2010 at 10:53 am

“left” is anti-war? Maybe someone should tell Obama this.

Fephisto December 2, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Oh, but it’s not war if a leftist president does it.

Forgot to point that out, sorry for the confusion.

Alexander S. Peak September 4, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Greg writes, “‘left’ is anti-war? Maybe someone should tell Obama this.”

Obama is pro-war, pro-state, and anti-market. Ergo, I would put him on the right—probably even further to the right than Bush, although not by much.

Best regards,
Alex Peak

Horst Mhulmann December 2, 2010 at 11:08 am

anti-war is inherently ‘left’

A minor incident known as the 20th Century begs to differ.

Daniel December 3, 2010 at 12:08 am

Only Nixon can go to China

corollary:

Only Obama can continue Bush’s wars

Alexander S. Peak September 4, 2011 at 8:26 pm

Mr. Hewitt asks, “Aren’t the ‘pro-market’ and ‘left’ prefixes contradictory?”

I would instead argue that it is the ‘right’ prefix that is contradictory to ‘pro-market.’ But, then, I define my left/right spectrum with libertarianism on the left and authoritarianism on the right. :)

Best,
Alex Peak

iawai December 2, 2010 at 9:19 am

At least he says “you must force them to be free” – rather we must do so.

This really cements my support for Assange, as it appears that he recognizes that it is the actions of individuals that must shape the market, and not some collective institution that binds all people to certain regulations. If the world is not how you want it, you must change it. He is not relying on the power of the very Monopoly Institution he wishes to change to put into effect the change he wishes to see. He is not forcing other people to support his efforts to make these changes. He is not trying to forbid people from supporting their own choices.

I don’t agree that the inevitable result of “free-market anarchy” or whatever you want to call it would be monopoly governments. But as is commonly pointed out: that’s what we have now, so why not support a system which has as it’s worst aspects the problems we’re currently trying to deal with? There will at least be room for economic and social gains in the time between monopoly governments.

haymor December 2, 2010 at 9:24 am

German Socialism forms, such as fascism, corporativism or modern state capitalism are many times confused as pure capitalism by the left-libertarians. They tend to think that market is a consequence of the state through the enforcement of property rights. While limited liability laws allow the big fortunes to further expand its capital, police state protect them from the exploited employees. They interpret history as a process of capital concentration through labour exploitation which is consolidated with state coercion. Therefore they conclude that in a free society no property would exist or at least would be one much more adhered to its occupation origins. They see the non agression axiom of anarchocapitalism a contradiction in terms.

nate-m December 2, 2010 at 10:03 am

It’s hard to talk to people sometimes because there is such a massive confusion of terms and ideas. It does not help that the term capitalism was most widely introduced into political discussions by the Marists… which basically was used to mean everything that was evil with the world.

Mike W December 2, 2010 at 9:27 am

Mr. Assange seems like many leftists who are starting to learn the virtues of the market, but he still confuses what results from a free-market and what results with a government-manipulated market. Hence when he says that a free market devolves into monopolies, I think he’s talking about government granted / controlled monopolies. When he says he has worries about capitalism, I think he’s referring to crony capitalism. And when he speaks of “force,” he merely means citizen watchdogs that disseminate information on how companies / governments operate.

Now, I wouldn’t say disseminating truthful information is force, although anarcho-socialists have told me that all actions are forceful, that all distribution of knowledge is forceful because it manipulates the thoughts of the persons receiving the knowledge. He may have a whisper of this mentality.

Bob T December 2, 2010 at 9:44 am

“WikiLeaks is designed to make capitalism more free and ethical.”

I don’t think that’s what WikiLeaks is designed to do. I’m kind of mixed on this guy. I appreciate the revealing of backroom dealings between government and business, but he only seems to be concerned with American leaks rather than capitalism in general. From a personal standpoint, maybe that’s all that should matter, but I can’t help but get the feeling that there is more to this guys motives than being a good Samaritan.

Joshua December 2, 2010 at 10:34 am

Wikileaks has lots of documents from other countries. The media in the US focuses mostly on the leaks that are from US sources, thus the misconception that Wikileaks “only” leaks American secrets.

Bob T December 2, 2010 at 10:48 am

I”m not going by what the media says. I went to their site and all I see is American documents. Sure, there is a second party that may be foreign, but I don’t see any cables having to do with China and Tibet or North Korea, or Between Russia and Iran. Maybe you can’t be all things to all people, but then don’t portray yourself as such.

Greg December 2, 2010 at 10:56 am

Wikileaks doesn’t hire people to go around snooping into secret files. They relay what is given to them. You can hardly blame the messenger for the contents of the message.

Bob T December 2, 2010 at 11:27 am

Well, I don’t buy the idea that he got these reams and reams of data from just an individual or two who thought the best place to go would be WikiLeaks. And I don’t believe that the vast majority of this info was compiled from the leaks of dozens of people who all even knew about WikiLeaks while he just sat passively waiting for people to come to him. As I said, I’m personally happy to see this stuff revealed, but something else is going on with this guy.

Bob T December 2, 2010 at 10:07 am

Regardless, it is obvious that the guy is now getting railroaded. The story reads like it’s from, “The Gulag Archipelago.” Speaking out against the state results in sex crime charges.

Daniel Hewitt December 2, 2010 at 11:37 am

It does indeed. From volume 3:

The court trying the Baptist M. I. Brodovsky (at Nikolayev, October 6, 1966) was not too squeamish to use crudely faked documents; when the defendant protested – “This is dishonest of you!” – they barked back at him: “The law will crush you, smash you, destroy you!”

pravin December 2, 2010 at 10:20 am

Wikileaks is a true free market phenomenon. it is like the BBB or Underwriters Lab with balls

Iain December 2, 2010 at 11:57 am

Hopefully Mr. Assange will get hold of somethimg on this insane food bill. There is already something out there about this concerning George Soros, monsanto, and expensive seed cleaning equipment.

C Keith December 2, 2010 at 2:25 pm

From just before that quote:
“WikiLeaks means it’s easier to run a good business and harder to run a bad business, and all CEOs should be encouraged by this. I think about the case in China where milk powder companies started cutting the protein in milk powder with plastics. That happened at a number of separate manufacturers. [...] Then one company starts cutting their milk powder with melamine, and becomes more profitable. You can follow suit, or slowly go bankrupt and the one that’s cutting its milk powder will take you over. That’s the worst of all possible outcomes. The other possibility is that the first one to cut its milk powder is exposed. Then you don’t have to cut your milk powder. [...] That’s the whole idea. In the struggle between open and honest companies and dishonest and closed companies, we’re creating a tremendous reputational tax on the unethical companies.”

Wikileaks is all about making information easier to obtain. This can only help the free market function better. “By making it easier to see where the problems are inside of companies, we identify the lemons.”

I think that Assange and his organization are clearly a force for justice in the world. Irrespective of “what he believes” or what “else is going on with this guy,” Wikileaks is throwing light on the dark places in our governments and big business / crony capitalists, and only by making this information free can the injustices perpetrated there be rooted out.

Greg December 3, 2010 at 11:42 am

Exactly. Wikileaks is doing the job that government claims to do, helping to make the free market better. Only they do it by lowering information costs, while the government attempts to use coercion. As a market actor, I trust Wikileaks to perform the job better than government. They are like what Ralph Nader could have been if he hadn’t turned to the dark side and started to believe that the government was the best solution to problems.

Most people only know Wikileaks for their leaking of government secrets, but they have leaked a large amount of corporate malfeasance as well.

Walt D. December 2, 2010 at 8:25 pm

All Wiki Leaks is trying to do is to provide an unfiltered news site. This way you get to read for yourself, rather than have someone decide what you can read, or give you a filtered or censored version of what they have read.

Vanmind December 3, 2010 at 11:01 am

Wikileaks is an obvious spook front.

Beefcake the Mighty December 3, 2010 at 11:40 am

I tend to agree.

Dave Albin December 4, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Regardless of what you think about Assange, it is disturbing how quickly governments around the world, the media, and other organizations turned him into a demon to be hunted. From what I can tell, he simply posts information given to him. He appears to have flaws and bias, as others have pointed out here, but he is hardly the monster he has been made out to be.

I always find it humorous how government organizations act as they have generated tons of secrets and knowledge on their own. Last time I checked, I (along with all of you) am forced to fund their activties. Shouldn’t I be able to know what they are doing, at the very least? NASA scientists moan about how private companies could never figure out how to get into space – really, what about turning over all of your knowledge to the public who was forced to pay for it? And on and on…..

Today, some other organizations on the web, such as PayPal, stopped interacting with his website, which is completely up to them.

Julian Assange Wikileaks December 11, 2010 at 12:25 am

keep in touched

Brett December 14, 2010 at 8:07 am

Given his ongoing practice of exposing government-corporate collusion, I think it’s safe to give him the benefit of the doubt.
What I’m thinking he is referring to is the economic entropy of the state. A market can start free, but government actions results in wealth becoming concentrated in increasingly fewer hands.

You see that horrible, controlled corporatist America today? That started as a “free-market”. The useless piece of paper called the constitution failed to stop the state expanding, and if Assange thinks he can do a better job, then by all means, leak away!

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