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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/15601/our-interests-and-their-interests/

Our Interests and Their Interests

February 8, 2011 by

Mises’s notable theory of classes has been curiously neglected. By bringing it back into prominence, we have to abandon the cozy view that all of us, we and our privileged rulers alike, are in a continuing harmony of interest. FULL ARTICLE by Murray N. Rothbard

{ 10 comments }

fundamentalist February 8, 2011 at 9:39 am

Nice! We see Mises’ thesis playing out in Europe today and in the increasingly vicious politics in the US. And I think Rothbard is right that only morality can settle the dispute. The traditional Christian doctrine of the sanctity of property and the role of the free market in establishing a just price is what is needed.

Prime February 8, 2011 at 12:20 pm

I’ve not yet been convinced by the egoist and “utilitarian” libertarian arguments that those who can hold and maintain power over others should relinquish it because it would be in their best interests. It just doesn’t seem to jive with the empirical evidence.

fundamentalist February 8, 2011 at 12:51 pm

I think that is what Rothbard is saying in this article. That’s why he writes that a moral argument is necessary.

Allen Weingarten February 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm

Prime, I also disagree with the view that all people would find it in their interest by abandoning their mercenary gains. This is not only because the empirical evidence shows how totalitarians & criminals generally become ever more committed over time. It is also because many people are barbaric, and prefer war to peace.

Now religionists can claim that in the afterlife, the wicked are punished while the good are rewarded. But that view cannot apply to the behavior of those whose choices are predicated on what befalls them in this life.

Michael A. Clem February 8, 2011 at 1:48 pm

As Fundamentalist points out, Mise’s utilitarianism is insufficiently persuasive. Unfortunately, this is just Rothbard pointing out the problem–the answer to this problem lies elsewhere. Rothbard still thought Mises’ class view to also be important to libertarian analysis.

billwald February 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm

The Libertarian error is thinking that money is the measure of everything. If this was true, then the 1% who own us might consider a system that, like the tide, raised all people. But the 1% understands that money is ONLY a means to absolute power. The WORST thing our owners can do is raise up the middle class. Our owners understand that their best protection is a population of 95% serfs, all of whom must spend 95% of their life’s energy scrambling to stay alive. Revolutions arise when the serfs have time to think about being serfs.

Lee February 8, 2011 at 6:14 pm

I suspect Rothbard, like so many others, posited the necessity of “morality” when he came up against the brick wall of reality, which is competition and struggle. The only escape is in inventing some sort of mythical morality, which naturally always favors the inventor. Obviously his invention has not and cannot negate the fundamental reality of competition; he is still competing but in disguise.

Allen Weingarten February 9, 2011 at 7:20 am

Consider the position that in the conflict between the government and the market, a moral perspective is required. Let us note that the liberal view that government has a moral objective is destructive and unconstitutional, for its mission is instead the technical one of defending our rights. As to the market, its objective is to be profitable (as long as it is not achieved by criminal means) and is not moral per se.

Morality is to be pursued in our culture, and is specifically in the realm of the individual.

fundamentalist February 9, 2011 at 9:32 am

We can see the necessity of a moral argument for freedom today as socialists have abandoned the claim of economic superiority and assert their moral superiority even as the acknowledge that socialism will make people poorer. Look at the love socialists have for Castro, even though the Cuban people are the poorest in the Western Hemisphere. According to socialists it’s OK to be dirt poor as long as we are all equal.

Socialism is no longer about helping the poor; capitalism has proven far better at that. The goal today is equality even if it makes the poor worse off. The driving force of socialism is envy. They want to destroy the wealthy man so that all are equally poor.

The only force capable of restraining envy is traditional Christianity. As traditional Christianity wanes socialism waxes stronger.

J. Murray February 9, 2011 at 9:54 am

I think it has to do more with mathematic illiteracy. People still do believe they’d be better off if, say, some CEO distributed his $40 million paycheck back to the employees. What they don’t grasp is that over 75,000 employees, this distribution would amount to $15, after tax, on the bi-weekly paycheck.

People do want this concept of equality, but somehow think everyone will be equally prosperous should socialism reach it’s “full potential”. What they don’t grasp is truly how little there is to distribute from the wealthy to everyone else and between getting just about nothing from the distribution and the rapid decline in those functions that make us better, the overall distributable “pie” will dramatically shrink.

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