Matt Zwolinski makes a couple of important points in response to my latest Forbes article. Matt’s point about the state serving as “the ultimate ‘capitalist tool’” is very important, and given the obvious need for this kind of work indicated by our discussion, it’s a direction in which I’m going to move with my popular writing and blogging. My column around April 15–which I drafted about a year ago–will take this on in a more direct way. Stay tuned. Parenthetically, I disagree with libertarians who think we should drop the term “capitalism,” but that’s another discussion for another day. While the following links probably won’t meet my left-wing friends’ definition of “speaking truth to power,” here are a few pieces that discuss the use of the state to socialize costs and privatize benefits:
5. Fight My Fire: Government or the Market?: this article discusses the origins of government-provided police and fire service. To the extent that we are interested in the poor and the downtrodden, this is a branch of history that requires a crucial re-reading. Christopher J. Coyne and I are revising a couple of papers on the 1866 Memphis race riot that question the standard “public goods and externalities” justifications for government provision of police and fire protection. When people are racists, it probably isn’t wise to give them a monopoly on the use of force.
6. “Free Market” Doesn’t Mean “Pro-Business”. This was the second column I wrote for Forbes after I went weekly.
7. Environmental Economics. This was my first Forbes column, and it discusses the use of economics in the service of environmentalists’ ends.
I appreciate the comments, the discussion, and yes, even the criticism. If you have any suggestions for things you would like to see me discuss, I would be happy to read them: email@example.com. As for the outlet, I can’t really do that much about it as it isn’t like I turned down an offer from The Nation so I could write for Forbes. If you’re reading this and you’re an editor for The Nation, though, the articles and blog posts I’ve written for the Mises Institute are available for republication under a Creative Commons license.
Cross-posted in the comments at Bleeding Heart Libertarians.