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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/8032/has-capitalism-failed/

Has Capitalism Failed?

April 16, 2008 by

Capitalism should not be condemned, writes Ron Paul, since we haven’t had capitalism. A system of capitalism presumes sound money, not fiat money manipulated by a central bank. Capitalism cherishes voluntary contracts and interest rates that are determined by savings, not credit creation by a central bank. It’s not capitalism when the system is plagued with incomprehensible rules regarding mergers, acquisitions, and stock sales, along with wage controls, price controls, protectionism, corporate subsidies, international management of trade, complex and punishing corporate taxes, privileged government contracts to the military-industrial complex, and a foreign policy controlled by corporate interests and overseas investments. FULL ARTICLE


Inquisitor April 25, 2008 at 7:37 pm

‘”burden of proof”…I know what it means. If you are unsure why are you still asking others to find the meaning for you…socialist troll.’

You’re the one throwing dictionary definitions around, so you might as well bring the relevant terms into the discussion.

‘I don’t need define the cost of a government action if it is the same as the cost under libertarianism. What is the point? It is the same. The answer achieves nothing…like everything you say.

Therefore I won.’

No, you need to demonstrate far more than that. You need to demonstrate that individuals would in fact choose to bear the given cost, i.e. that they’d consider it economically sound, when spending their own money. So you’ve won nothing. You haven’t even shown it’d be the same as under libertarianism – you just posited that governments may use the same experts as the private sector. So what?

“I said governments provide a service which would definately need to be provided under libertarianism, at a cost the SAME as a private market would.”

Because you said governments would hire experts that firms would? Again, so what?

“Profitability does not enter that. However unprofitable that government would be…then the market would then be the same…becaus the government is using the market.”

Oh please. Yes, and its spending money its taken from the populace at large, that is to say money that is not its own – hence Newson’s point regarding people being wiser with their own money than that of others.

“We are not discussing economics child. We are discussing whether government should regulate markets to protect health and safety of citizens.”

Yet we are, dolt. Whether citizens would in willingly fact bear the costs of this extra “safety” definitely falls in the realm of economics.

“I have shown that it would cost the same or cheaper than under a free market and have better outcomes (less litigation and loss of life).”

Except for the small problem that you haven’t.

“health and safety is not an economic topic, it is a health and safety topic. It has economic implications but those are just one aspect of it.”

It’s all economics, given that you’re bringing the market into it.

“You really have to come out of your dark, confederate flagbearing militia basement buddy and join the world.”

I’m not American, but thanks for revealing what a prejudiced twat you are.

Inquisitor April 25, 2008 at 7:42 pm

*in fact willingly

scott t April 25, 2008 at 8:10 pm

“‘I don’t need define the cost of a government action if it is the same as the cost under libertarianism.”

well…you dont need to be posting crap here but you are.
what if a drought in an area drained a monopoly municipal water supply.
the local govt wouldnt allow private wells in yards even though the underground water table was still sound.
just the local resivoir was drained due to drought and use.
i would say that govt in that case does create additional costs – the cost of making water more scarce.

Jeremy April 25, 2008 at 9:01 pm


You’re right about one thing – might is right is the way the world works. However, it is a question of degrees. Going out in the opposite direction of the road to serfdom is the road to freedom.

You are completely wrong in saying that ‘might is right’ is a libertarian term. Defending oneself and one’s property is not the same as ‘might is right’. Sorry that you believe this is so.

Libertarianism is based on the ‘non-agression’ principle, which means that any government that uses force in any form (attacking another country, taxation that is not voluntary, etc) is not libertarian. I’m not saying I think no government is the answer to our problems, just that it is not a libertarian entity.

Owen April 26, 2008 at 6:56 am


Congratulations, you actually tried to add something!

“You need to demonstrate that individuals would in fact choose to bear the given cost”

Um, if firms purposely act without any regard for public safety then we will pick up the pieces later and they are in fact endangering the health and safety of the people, a right held dear by MOSt people (except you). Therefore the majority are happy to force their will upon the minority in order that no-one knowingly endangers the life of others. If the firm in question wanted to make and sell hand grenades outside schools this would be banned. So would any and all actions by firms that endanger the lives of the people.

It is also CHEAPER to prevent the damage such actions WILL cause before it happens. How much does a seatbelt cost compared to the present value of future lost earnings of a lost life of a 1yr old person who was killed in a car with no seatbelt? Case closed. You lose.

Still a bit of a worry how you think everything is about economics when it clearly isn’t.

Scott t:

Good try but the debate was specifically about regulations used to enforce health and safety when building and operating an oil port and/or refinery in New Zealand. The cost to government in this case of creating the regulations would be the same as a firm in investigating how to safely operate without incurring future potential libabilities due to negligence tort actions against it.

I agree with what you say about wells but in this case does not that government have the support of the majority of the population in preventing people damaging the local ecosystem? I think it does and if that wasn’t the case then that rule would not be there.


I understand and also agree with your post. However, many would argue that every action taken by a state is in fact don so as to “defend the dearheld rights of it’s citizens”.

Libertarians view of rights that are to be defended are different than many other people. Therefore a government might use force to collect taxes in the name of “defending the rights of the poor to eat” or “defending the right of the people to a clean natural environment” when prosecuting a polluting firm.

Libertarian ideals of defence used only to protect property stem from “property” being the main right held dear by libertarians. Current Western Democratic governments protect citizens rights to: freedom of movement, right to basic standard of living, minimum health and safety levels etc and believe it is their right to levy taxes upon residents in their jurisdiction in order to meet these rights.

Because most people in democracies do not put the right to property above others’ rights to eat, move freely and be safe.

Inquisitor April 26, 2008 at 7:09 am

To the troll:

This will be my last response to you. I’ve wasted enough precious time on your incessant evasions and lies.

“Um, if firms purposely act without any regard for public safety then we will pick up the pieces later and they are in fact endangering the health and safety of the people, a right held dear by MOSt people (except you). Therefore the majority are happy to force their will upon the minority in order that no-one knowingly endangers the life of others. If the firm in question wanted to make and sell hand grenades outside schools this would be banned. So would any and all actions by firms that endanger the lives of the people. ”

What was asked was whether this so-called government safety regulation was actually economically efficient and whether it does in fact reflect how a free market would handle it. Your response was that governments hire the same experts that private firms would, which again does not prove your point. Continuously citing “might makes right” and “the majority wills it”, as if I were some majoritarian, honestly leaves me unphased.

“It is also CHEAPER to prevent the damage such actions WILL cause before it happens. How much does a seatbelt cost compared to the present value of future lost earnings of a lost life of a 1yr old person who was killed in a car with no seatbelt? Case closed. You lose.”

Right, and governments are necessary to force profit-oriented firms into adopting measures that will reduce their liabilities, correct?

“Still a bit of a worry how you think everything is about economics when it clearly isn’t.”

Still a bit of a worry that you haven’t proved a single thing yet.

Owen April 26, 2008 at 9:52 pm


It being cheaper to prevent safety violations than to litigate them after the fact and deal with the inevitable costs means that government regulation is cheaper than leaving it to private litigation.

The fact that a government would employ at market rates the samer experts that a private firm would ensures that the cost would be equal. When this cost is then spread over all firms in that same market you get a two fold reduction compared with the private market of :

A) Preventing public safety violations rather than litigating and dealing with the costs of them after the fact is much much cheaper.

B) Government does not have the resources to investigate and develop such regulations so must use private market experts at market rates the same as a firm would have to. This cost is then only needed to be incurred once and then is made freely available to all market participants in the form of health and safety regulations so meaning that pointless duplication of such efforts is avoided.

So government regulations are cheaper and more efficient than leaving it to the private market.

newson April 27, 2008 at 2:27 am

owen says:
“It being cheaper to prevent safety violations than to litigate them after the fact and deal with the inevitable costs means that government regulation is cheaper than leaving it to private litigation.

this is a non-sequitur. the threat of litigation motivates private interests to avoid tort actions. responsible behaviour (avoiding injury to third parties from negligence) springs from self-interest.

as well, private interests are less likely to over-invest in prevention than government. government has every incentive to render an environment too safe, as this plays out well politically – over-zealous is better than lax when fronting the public on safety issues. heck, everybody should be driving the latest bmw if money is no object. let’s make it illegal to drive budget cars.

in contrast to this outcome, if private interests either over, or under-invest in preventative measures, they will be punished in the market. private interests who are slack on accident mitigation will face higher insurance premiums or risk being ruined by a successful tort action, and companies who spend too freely on prevention will find themselves with less profit than their more thrifty competitors. this is a dynamic equilibrium which government cannot replicate because it doesn’t have the same incentives.

Owen April 27, 2008 at 4:09 am


“the threat of litigation motivates private interests to avoid tort actions. ”

Of course. And how will they do that? By basing their actions on exactly the same research and investigation that the government would.

The “market punishment” that safety-tort undermitigators face in the market in terms of insurance premiums and in lives lost and lawyers fees at trial….is going to cost more than it would to prevent such actions taking place in the first instance.

Prevention is still cheaper than cleaning up after the fact. Especially when the government uses market means to develop such prevention guidelines.

newson April 27, 2008 at 5:32 am

owen (highlighted) says:
“the threat of litigation motivates private interests to avoid tort actions. ”

Of course. And how will they do that? By basing their actions on exactly the same research and investigation that the government would.

this is where the error is. the government sees things through a political prism, the costs are not borne by them – why would they care how much is spent on safety? if they overspend they’ll sell it as compassion for the public. a lot of the safety regulations promulgated by government are a smokescreen for other purposes (job creation for friendly unions, hobbling certain firms in favour of others etc)

“Especially when the government uses market means to develop such prevention guidelines.

the government purchases goods and services on the market, but does not use market means to achieve its ends. it will tend to hire too many experts rather than too little, because the financial constraints aren’t there. it is not subject to the same budgetary pressures, and hence there will be wastage.

private companies will not base their decisions on the same information as government precisely because they have two completely different agendas. one has political popularity as its goal, the other profitability.

Owen April 27, 2008 at 6:00 am


I accept that government would not be as ruthlessly efficient but I don’t think the gap would be too large.

It strikes me that even one unecessary death as a result of corporate negligence would have far greater financial implications. Imagine a small child killed through corporate negligence of some sort. Well that child might have grown up to work for 40 years in high paying employment aswell as having 8 children who do the same and so on and so on so on until you could caluculate that one negligent death costing hundreds of millions if not billions through forgone potential future earnings and societal benefit.

This could quite probably outweigh any inefficiencies government might have had in conducting intitial reserch and investigation to create regulations which are divided up amongst market participants in the first place anyway.

newson April 27, 2008 at 7:10 am

tort actions regularly ascribe damages on the basis of forgone earnings, physical and emotional hurt, degree of contributory negligence etc. nothing revolutionary here.
in fact, if you go through court records, you can get a ball-park figure for different types of disaster.

romanticizing the victim doesn’t shed any light on the argument. the government doesn’t weep inconsolably every time a taxpayer (current or future) dies, nor does business. both are motivated by numbers, the former votes at a poll, the latter figures on a p&l statement.

the family’s pain is private.

Owen April 27, 2008 at 4:50 pm


If the future generations of a person and all of their potential earnings into infinity are destroyed upon their unnecessary death this would immeasurably outweigh any costs of creating regulation to prevent the death. We could be talking billions here for one person.

The insurance premiums and/or research and investigation costs in order to mitigate that potential expense far outweighs the cost of government creating the legislation, which if the firm follows, will not lead to any tort action.

If you wanna put a price on everything then you gotta put a price on human life. Since human life is so expensive (potential foregone future earnings of every human generation that person could create) it is still more efficient to regulate than to litigate.

ExquisiteDoom June 14, 2011 at 3:37 am


Most people are poor, it is a rediculous argument to take the position that protection could save a billionaire from death. A more honest argument would be to take into consideration the average salary of a citizen and the amount of children the average of citizens do have in accordance to the age of the victim involved.

Then we obtain a more realistic value for life.

If a government regulates an industry to save lives, you have to consider the costs of the regulation at hand and it’s effects. How many people had accidents before the regulations versus the new regulation. We also have to figure out the costs of the victim, if by a major accident, did the regulation prevent the accident from being worse? (although there are epistemic issues here). If it didn’t help then we cannot compile this incident as being mitigated by regulation, if however it did help, then we have to determine the cost differentials with an alternative event that is extremely vague because it didn’t happen. Let’s say we can determine this , did these costs actually outweigh the costs of regulations per capita, or not? We also have to include the costs of this very research. We also have to figure out where the money would have gone instead of into this regulation and wether or not the natural way of spending was better or not than the regulation (which is almost impossible to figure out). All we know is that the regulations tend to be more inefficient and more costly than private alternatives. We also have to discover the choke points in productivity created by this regulation and take them into account as well as the potential composed interests lost.

And that’s really just the beginning, the task is insane and we’ll probably never know the opportunity costs fully nor the gains, so we cannot even verify if such a program functions at a loss or not meaning that regulations economically blindsight p&l accounting. We simply can’t know if we are cutting losses or not, and if we could the research itself would be extremely expensive and redundant , whereas the private sectors only needs maintain a profit to know for sure that losses have been cut.

All you can do is assume regulations will save people without any empirical data, without destroying more lives due to side effects of the regulations, which have been found in generality to harm safety because the entrepreneurs do not take care to improve safety as the government bears those costs or force all entrepreneurs to respect them equally which directly cuts the incentive to improve safety; which explains why statistically speaking safety regulations almost never improve the rates of incident, but rather maintain them, whilst costs go through the roof and if you look back through time there is generally a tendency for the costs of safety to go down as well as the rate of incidents but now the government placed a permanent legal roadblock. Also , the government simply looks at what is already being done and turns it into law, or it gets lobbied by competitors to erect economic blockades masquerading as “safety measures” . The government is INCAPABLE of regulating in a non-wasteful manner, it actually just tries to control which ends up into a net loss.

You simply don’t understand catallactics.

Ryan April 27, 2008 at 9:23 pm

Owen (with fixed spelling of “vulnerable”):With regard to an electronic system being vulnerable to government interference..um…duh…how is a gold standard any less vulnerable? They both rely on the same government to support and defend them. We are talking about the same government right?

What our friend, Owen the Statist, is ignoring here is that capitalism properly calls for not only a gold standard or a standard fixed to any commodity for that matter (it could be cheese graters if the market called for it), but it calls primarily for the separation of economy from the state. The state is the greatest thief. Through, not only taxation, but through engineered inflation through fractional reserve banking, government funds its own interests. The Fed is created in 1913: World War I ensues; the dollar is removed from the gold standard domestically in 1933: World War II; the dollar is removed from the gold standard worldwide in 1971: double-digit inflation in ’73 and ’74. Now, is it any wonder that Ron Paul and Ben Bernanke aren’t best friends? It’s because Paul calls for separation of economy and state (as vital as separation of church and state to a truly free people) and the return to a commodity standard, while Bernanke perpetuates organized crime every time he claims to have any authority!

The problem here, Owen, is that we’re not talking about the same government. Your big brother is tucking in your blankets at night: the real big brother is putting you in shackles any time you claim to have a right to your own labor.

Ryan April 27, 2008 at 9:29 pm

Owen, did you just say that something could outweigh any costs of creating regulation? That hurts. The costs of creating regulation are what is immeasurable. Going through existence, we constantly “mix our labor” with items. We perpetuate our existence through our labor. Property is ours, because we have put something of ourselves into it. If government attempts to regulate to save lives it inherently kills a part of everyone’s ability to live, because private property is essential to an actualized existence.

Owen April 27, 2008 at 10:45 pm


Yes. If the future generations of a person and all of their potential earnings into infinity are destroyed upon their unnecessary death, this would immeasurably outweigh any costs of creating regulation to prevent the death.

We could be talking billions here for one person when all their future generations of offspring’s future earnings are taken into account.

The insurance premiums paid by all firms in the industry in order to mitigate that huge potential expense far outweighs the minimal added cost of government commissioning the research and investigation instead of the firms repeating this research each themselves.

We do live in a libertarian society Ryan, except you don’t realise that in a libertarian society people are allowed to form groups to perpetuate their interests. It just so happen that the largest of these groups is called the “government” and all other groups are so small as to have no ability to negotiate any rights or agreements with it. Governments negotiate between eachother because their is a balance of power somewhat. Between an individual and the government of their territory there is no need for the government to give any credence to others.

OUtside of the sanctity of a government you are on your own and there are no “higher laws” upon which your interactions are governed. A government could execute you for no reason at all because there is no laws or enforcement thereof to prevent this. Only within a government are their laws and rightsgiven to citizens.

So as for having my “labor stolen”…I consent to it. If I don’t agree I put my name in the hat and cast my vote another way to reduce taxes or regulations which many people do but at the end of the day because they participated in the political process they must accept the outcome or go outside of the government where there is nothing protecting their rights.

newson April 27, 2008 at 10:50 pm

owen says:
“it is still more efficient to regulate than to litigate.”

apart from the fact that you’ve not given us any facts to support this line of reasoning, and conceded that government is less“ruthlessly efficient” in restraining costs, you still fail to see that it’s the very threat of litigation that encourages firms to engage in prevention.
nobody is suggesting that prevention isn’t better than cure.

you seem very idealistic about the nature of government. wait till you have to do business with them, the scales will fall from your eyes.

Owen April 28, 2008 at 3:40 am


If a firm does not comply with what a government considers to be safe production then it will proceed with action against the firm for endangering the public.

In that sense the regulations can be seen as a guide to business for how they might best avoid such litigation.

Government necessarily acts for those that vote (because by voting they legitimize it’s power over them) and therefore government is simply the representative of the majority of citizens within a geographic area who are able to force their will upon non-members without any guiding laws to regulate this interaction. Once you step outside of government sanctity you are into “might is right” so you better be mighty or you will lose.

So in that sense regulation can be seen as a warning for a firm to stay within what the majority ruling party deems acceptable for that firm to do. If the firm steps outside these rules they face the consequences.

This is another way to look at it.

Ryan April 28, 2008 at 10:57 pm

Owen: “the largest of these groups is called the ‘government.’”

Government is the antithesis of a private group promoting its interests according to the libertarian creed. Government is the largest criminal, not the largest private organization. The libertarian society requires a regard of all coercion as illegal, and, yes, in response to your “there are no ‘higher laws’ upon which your interactions are governed,” there is one (and it is absolute) law according to the libertarian creed: that no aggression against a person or their property shall be allowed. If you’re still a little confused about how laws can exist without government, PLEASE see The Libertarian Manifesto, chapter 12. Owen, if you take the time to understand what this “libertarian” idea is, rather than making heinous claims that the absence of government is the absolute proliferation of government, your argumentation might even stand in the minds of those who have been socialized as well as yourself. People are, easily, allowed to form groups, absence of coercion, to further their ideals. But as soon as coercion creeps in, we have gone against the libertarian creed, and the individuals who would claim in our libertarian existence to have the “right” to govern others would be taken to the private courts to be tried for their acts of coercion.

Next, Owen, your “love it or leave it” stance is sadly typical. You’ve just said that those who wish that government would discontinue its aggression against them ought to simply step back and leave to some far off anarchist colony, rather than asking that their wrongs be made right, that government be the one to step back, and that government realize how self-defeating it is to tell the individual to crawl around and die. Certainly, the true libertarian ought to vote for lower taxation at any chance he or she is given; but, the libertarian will never settle. The lowering of a tax does not make the remaining tax just: it is merely less unjust than the previous tax. Again, a critique of this reality is available in the Libertarian Manifesto (this time in the 15th chapter), if a Statist like yourself can care at all for intellectualism (see chapter 7).

Owen: “If a firm does not comply with what a government considers to be safe production then it will proceed with action against the firm for endangering the public.”

And thus we have inefficient school systems, inefficient road systems, inefficient garbage disposal, inefficient retirement plans, inefficient anything and everything that the government puts its hands on. If a firm does not comply with what the market considers to be safe production then it will proceed with action against the firm, because that’s what the market calls for. Isn’t it beautiful? It’s amazing that there’s a system out there where those who receive a good or service are those who determine what that good or service will be and how it may be produced.

Businesses do need a guide. They receive their demand from the market. Demand is usually a good guide for those attempting to supply the market. You know, supply, demand, equilibrium, all of that good, sensible stuff.

Owen, voting is not a legitimization of government. Voting for an increase in government is a legitimization of government. Voting for a decrease in government is a nonviolent attempt to bargain an aggressor out of existence.

Anarchy does not perpetuate “might is right.” You have already admitted that government is the entity that attempts coerce others, therefore wielding “might.” In the market, anything free from coercion is right.

The only way to look at regulation is a coercive means of restricting a business and its consumers. Regulation tells a business to go against (or perhaps not bother exercising) its better judgment. It tells the consumers that they cannot choose. It provides businesses with the rationale that whatever they can get away with doing, within the regulations of government, ought to be done. What ought to be done in any case ought to be determined by the market, and would be under a market economy.

Owen April 29, 2008 at 3:31 am


Couple of points:

1. If you vote for a party in a fair election you would gladly accept if your party won, no? Well if your party loses then you must oblige the other participants in that election of their rights to then pursue their form of government. If you are not willing to accept their form of government then do not vote. You legitimize an election of government by voting, this is common knowledge. So I take it you don’t vote.

2. All those who do vote therefore accept the winner of that election as being able to lawfully hold authority over them when it is elected including enforcing all the laws they propose to enact. This stems from your legitimisation of their rule by your vote. Again, if you are not prepared to accept this rule then you must not vote. Otherwise you would be a hypocrite.

Therefore a government is the embodiment of the sentiment of all who voted. If my winner does not win I will still support and follow the government that is elected. If there are hopeful candidates for government that went against any moral fibre of the being of the others then they would be excluded by the others of standing for government. This ensures that within a certain government there will only ever be political viewpoints across an acceptable range.

If one “outside” group insists on taking part in elections then the majority would then move away, choose their government and move back and forcefully expel the rebel group they hated.

The sum total of all of this is that government DOES represent the will of the people who voted. It can therefore be regarded as a voluntary group (because no-one is coerced to vote) within a larger libertarian society.

3. Laws between can only exist if they are capable of being enforced. Because the law will be infringed from time to time by members of society it cannot be a natural law because a natural law could not be infringed. Therefore, absence enforcement, there is no law. Outside of national governments there is no universal or even regaional laws because there is simply no method of enforcement.

So the enforcement must come from one of the two parties at dispute. Let’s say two groups of libertarians – for example government (the largest voluntary group) and a smaller group. The smaller group would be patently unable to enforce any of it’s conceptions of laws onto the larger group however the government could enforce any and all of it’s laws on the smaller group.

This is the current situatiation of the world today and there is no way to change it.

4. I agree that most things that government puts it’s hands on are run inefficiently. I think that all activities should be returned to private citizens and business, or contributed to on a voluntary basis, except for the following few:

1 Defence
2 Infrastructure (i.e. natural monopoly networks)
3 Law making*, enforcement and arbitration
4 Foreign Affairs

(*3 Is actually a wide scope and would require constitutional limitations to prevent anti-competition laws for example.)

4. I don’t think libertarians should leave I think they need to engage in the political process in order that many of their good ideas are heard. I don’t call myself libertarian because I have eclectic political views that are a combination of libertarian, democratic, georgist, and republican.

5. It would be great if might did not equal right Ryan…sadly in this world that is not possible. There is no higher authority than a national government. The only way is for you to work from within to change attitudes to economic management and rights etc.

TLWP Sam April 29, 2008 at 5:22 am

On the other hand, Owen, the Market for Liberty with its notion of privatised justice system competitors presumes a diverse horiztonal society but no vertical structures. If we were to presume a anarcho-Libertarian did have various vertical structures then these hierarchies would be ‘just’. It seems history instead would show in a time of no higher government people tended to live in clans in order to play the numbers game in their favour against roving violent gangs. I also believe being exiled from a clan would be a virtually death sentence, it’d probably be guaranteed if nearby clans didn’t automatically accept exiles as a matter of course. And, ultimately, if the rebuttal is ‘well you’d have to be a good clan member and abide by the rules and keep your act clean then you’d have nothing to worry about’ would confirm the Libertarian notion that everyone is in some sort of a gang and the biggest gangs win.

Owen April 29, 2008 at 5:36 am


Sadly, history shows that we got to where we are now PRECISELY because the natural tendancy of humans is to form and join clans that protect their interests and security. When the interests of one clan overlaps with another as happens when clans grow and forge new ground and develop (another natural human tendency) then they quarrel and the winner takes all. The process continues until stable clans are formed that can be defended militarily – we now call these governments.

I wish we all just loved eachother and helped eachother but that is not what the evidence says.

Ryan April 29, 2008 at 9:57 am

Owen, I would not gladly accept the victory of my party. The libertarian party inherently sees their victory as the best of the inherently evil options available to them. Anarchy is the goal, but, on the way to anarchy, we attempt to minimize the role of government. Minimal government is not just. It is less unjust than other governments.

The legitimization of an election by voting is not common knowledge. Common knowledge assumes an a priori principle or explicit empirical knowledge. You’ve merely presented the legitimization theory. I hold that government is a criminal to be reckoned with, not to be pardoned.

Not voting would in fact be the act of hypocrisy. Any libertarian feels the need for achieving anarchy as soon as is possible. In order to do so, libertarians should not silence themselves: this would be hypocrisy, for it inherently goes against the goal. The only hypocritical action in voting is voting against the goals of the libertarian party, and a “no vote” would in fact be voting against the goals of the libertarian party.

You said, “If my winner does not win I will still support and follow the government that is elected.” This, in fact is hypocrisy. For if one claims a support of one thing, and then claims to be satiated by its antithesis, one cannot claim to have any legitimate stance at all. They have been the hypocrite.

The “acceptable range” of political action for the libertarian can only include action that goes against the existence of government. To do otherwise would be the death of the libertarian stance.

“Forcefully expel?” Exactly, Owen. You don’t seem to get that being coerced goes against an individuals will. If you vote to be taxed, then and only then have you given your consent to the tax. If I vote against a tax, then I stand against that theft and I never step down: because any libertarian must shun hypocrisy.

In response to “no one is coerced to vote,” when I vote against an attack on their property (taxation), they are simply doing something they can to avoid “forceful” aggression. They are not volunteering their support of a tax. To say so is: “hypocrisy.”

The method of enforcement of the law of anarchy is through the market. I assume you haven’t read or listened to the audio book version of the twelfth chapter of the Libertarian Manifesto yet. As I assumed, you must despise intellectualism.

Owen, it’s comforting to know that you only agree to theft for some causes and not for others. That makes your stance less unjust than the stances of others.

In response to, “There is no higher authority than a national government,” government has no authority; it merely has structure, the ability to steal and enslave.

Owen April 29, 2008 at 10:43 am


…sounds like you are not actually interested in being a participant in the democracy at all but just wanna use the other party and take what you can get out of it and not give anything back.

Actually you did accept the outcome because unless you are typing from jail after defiantly not paying your taxes. So, you DID adhere to the decision – you followed it. Thanks, we need all the taxes you can get.

You can moan ad nauseum about how you don’t like it (as many people do) but you followed it after being forcefuly compelled to do so.

You did not but remember you are USING not participating.

Yes, libertarianism is allowed in democratic elections because it is within acceptable morals. Examples of choices which would be excluded would be “Axe Murderers”, “Neo-Nazi’s” and “Suicide pact” parties. They would not be accepted as viable options by the majority based on their professed beliefs, in fact most of them would probably be locked up or in treatment anyway.

You can vote against a tax but you paid it, right? You followed the outcome of the election.

No-one holds your hand and pushes it into the box so you are not physically compelled to vote. You still have a choice.

The situation we have now is anarchy. The largest voluntary group of individuals is called the “government” and it interacts with other groups within an anarchy environment.

Anarcy allows voluntary groups of people, right? Government is a voluntary group of people. You are not forced to join with this group – you can choose to defy it or leave. You chose to stay.

If you wanna go to another anarchist group you could choose another government group or make your own but sorry there is no land left and our government (voluntary group of people) is not interested in just giving you any of ours. So what will you do? It is up to you.

Libertarianism allows the “theft” of another’s property as restitution for violating the right of one’s private property. In many cases the “offender” will not agree to this. The “victim” is considered to have the right to streal some property off the offender in order to restore their right (property).

Taxation is based on the same principle of someone (the people represented by their democratically elected government) having the right to steal some property off the offender (citizens who have consumed/stolen government services without paying for them yet) in order to restore their right(s) (Freedom of movement, right to basic necessities, right to security, right to national defence, right to due process, right to an environment, right to life).

So “theft” of property from another is justified in Libertarianism and Democracies by the “rights” that need to be restored from this property.

In a libertarian society the government provides no services and therefore cannot legitimately demand payment from citizens.

A democratic government provides a range of services that benefit the public (security, defence, law and order, freedom…), so is entitled to seek payment from the consumers of those goods. If they do not want to pay then it can forfully exctract payment.

Was there a contract for payment? Yes, because by living in that society and voting (honestly) you agree to abide by any laws, including taxes, that are made by that government.

PR April 29, 2008 at 11:16 am

Remember, folks…

If you vote, you have no right to complain, because by voting you implicitly agree to accept the outcome, whatever it may be.

If you don’t vote, you have no right to complain, because you forfeited your chance to change things.

If you stay within the country, you have no right to complain, because staying implies consent to everything the government does.

If you leave the country, you have no right to complain (even about foreign policy that directly affects you), because you’re not a citizen anymore.

Owen April 29, 2008 at 11:45 am

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

Oh, you forgot to add that since the government is just a voluntary group of individuals within an anarchist society, you really have nothing to complain about because your libertarian utopia is already here…except with the small catch that another group of libertarians have defined their rights differently from yours and are using their “private security firm” to enforce these rights.

It is what you wanted right? Private security? Anarchy? Well it’s here…just you can’t see it.

Ryan April 29, 2008 at 1:19 pm

Owen, your arguments and mine, it would seem, have become centered around denotative meanings.

I hold that consent is saying something is just. You hold that the slave who does not revolt out of fear for his life is giving his consent. Our definitions of consent do not coincide. It seems that I would accept that taxpayers give consent to a tax in your sense, and that you would accept that taxpayers who vote against a tax do not give consent in my sense.

Further, you hold that anarchy includes the presence of government, while I hold that anarchy is the absence of government.

You said, “But sorry there is no land left.” This is an important point. I could flee government to establish myself in the Rothbardian definition of anarchy, but I am prevented from doing so by the omnipresence of government. Government is self-perpetuating and has covered the earth. If there were unclaimed land anywhere, imperialist countries would snatch it up as it has in the past.

Restitution for a crime committed is not theft, because as Locke pointed out in the libertarian tradition in 1690, those who do not abide by the one law of non-aggression are not guaranteed the rights thereof: life, liberty, and property.

Government is not the sole entity capable of providing certain magical goods and services. To say that no one could privately provide garbage pick-up is as ludicrous as to say that the shoe market shouldn’t have survived in the private realm. Government has coercively claimed the right to force us to pay for goods and services that we may or may not desire, and to force competitors to stay out of the market. Rights are guaranteed by the market. The only rights “guaranteed” by government are those which government claims it will not stop the market from providing to us.

You said, “In a libertarian society the government provides no services and therefore cannot legitimately demand payment from citizens.” Thank you. That was a very good and rightful concession.

I have no contract with government, because government has encompassed the earth. Even if it did not encompass the earth, it would tax me, making it even more difficult to “just leave” and go establish anarchy. In our world, it is impossible to give implied consent. Government is always there to fight everything that libertarians stand for.

What you fail to see, Owen (and PR), is that A LIBERTARIAN EXISTENCE DOES HAVE A LAW. It is the law of non-aggression, and hence government is the largest and most grotesque criminal. Again, please don’t dodge private legal systems. It’s in the Libertarian Manifesto. It will barely take you an hour to listen the audio book of chapter twelve. Please, please, try to think, instead of avoiding this crucial argument.

PR April 29, 2008 at 2:11 pm

Just to be clear, my post above was meant as sarcasm. Owen is glibly conflating aquiescence with consent and is with ought. That he apparently sees no moral problem with my Catch-22 situation should tell you everything you need to know about him.

Scott D April 29, 2008 at 3:01 pm


“You will not find “burden of proof” in a dictionary idiot.”


Tee hee. Now, what else has Owen been wrong about so far….

Owen April 29, 2008 at 6:02 pm

Scott D:

Seems quite clear that “burden of proof” applied to legal courtrooms only.

So not here. Sad that, huh?

Inquisitor April 29, 2008 at 6:10 pm

burden of proof
–noun 1. Chiefly Law. the obligation to offer evidence that the court or jury could reasonably believe, in support of a contention, failing which the case will be lost.
2. the obligation to establish a contention as fact by evoking evidence of its probable truth.


[Origin: 1585–95]

burden of proof

the duty of proving a disputed charge

Convenient that you should ignore the non-legal definitions of the term.

Owen April 29, 2008 at 6:12 pm

Scott D

Scientific enquiry is also a legitimate area of burden of proof.


Fallacy = Because one non-syllogistic argument is wrong, another is also wrong.

One incorrect statement (regarding burden of proof) does not invalidate any other arguments made that do not rely on this argument.

Owen April 29, 2008 at 6:16 pm

Scott D:

Lets exemplify that fallicious argument for you a little:

Mises was not God;
Therefore he made some mistakes;
Therefore Mises theories were also wrong.

Can you see the fallacy? The above wrongly relies on the additional premise that because a person makes one error, that EVERYTHING they do is also wrong. We all know that not to be the case.

Arguments stand or fall on their individual merit not on whether statements upon which they do not rely were correct or incorrect.

Back to elementary school eh?

P.M.Lawrence April 29, 2008 at 7:02 pm

If I recall correctly, Inquisitor, like me, is in Australia where not voting is not an option. For case histories in how to cope with a rigged political structure that claims you support it one way or another regardless, look at the Irish join-and-sabotage political tactics of the 19th century and early 20th century.

TLWP Sam April 29, 2008 at 10:44 pm

Guvmints has encompassed the globes? So what? In a privately-owned world the propertyless might feel the same dillemma too. So what difference is there other than Libertarians work from the premise that government have no right to exist?

Owen April 29, 2008 at 11:19 pm

The Australian system of compulsory voting is a bit strange really. I guess it is just another right that the majority imposes onto others within the libertarian land of australia.

Somehow, it is part of the majority’s view that they have the right to make everyone vote and those that don’t should either leave or suffer the consequences because you have infringed their “rights”. Much the same way as if they had infringed your property rights…but sadly you have no power to enforce your concept of “rights” on the other much larger voluntary group called the government.

Yeh, I mentioned the join and sabotage method earlier in this thread. It is an option which would be tolerated for only so long until the members of that group are prevented from standing for government. If they did by a miracle win seats or power well then there would simply be civil war and the winner would again be the one with the most guns.


yes you are correct. In libertarian philosophy a very important tenet is that right to not be deprived of property comes before your right to life. Pretty screwed huh? Which one would you rather have?

Scott D April 30, 2008 at 9:10 am


We call that one “straw man”. If I say, “Oh, look, there’s a sock. Let’s see if I can find my other one,” it isn’t the same thing as saying, “I found one sock, therefore there is another one here.” Notice how the first is not phrased as a deductive statement? Good. The fact that you are willing to go to such great stretches and twists of logic in an attempt to prove your argumentative superiority only shows that you are not truly interested in reaching a resolution, but simply want to fight.

Just a little tip: don’t call people “idiot” or suggest remedial education. It makes you feel that you’ve won, when in reality people just leave you alone in disgust, as I am already doing.

P.M.Lawrence May 1, 2008 at 5:13 am

They tried barring the Irish from participating first – and that stopped democratic safety valves from working. Then, they changed parliamentary procedure with guillotines and such so that “and sabotage” couldn’t be done – and found that that too stopped the safety valve from working. In the end the Irish had to be let go, since there was a violent recourse available that they fell back on. But it was not civil war (though came later, between the Irish groups), since there was a sectional split – most of Ireland, and the rest of the UK. The Irish War of Independence was not a civil war, which shows that these tactics do not have to lead to one.

Owen May 1, 2008 at 6:25 am

Ah, the proud fighting Irish…

Another voluntary “group” of individuals who were able to (through force) establish their own government – which reflected the morals and perceived ‘rights’ of the majority of members – in this anarchist state of nature we live in.

Exactly as I said.

Ryan October 16, 2008 at 6:54 pm

Wow, I apologize: I took a trip to Washington, D.C. the first week of May, so I dropped the blog. I never imagined Owen would get the last word; so, now I will fix that.

TLWP Sam: The crowding of the globe by governments is not applicable to a libertarian society. The need to find new land of which I spoke was out of an effort to escape government. In a libertarian society, and in the extreme imaginary construct of a world with no natural land (i.e., land in the state of nature) remaining, it is not very likely that anyone would fall down on their knees crying out of need of a place to lay their head at night: a libertarian society leaves space open for the opening of new markets, and if this entertaining situation arose, I would be one of the first to build onto my house and rent out the top floor. Thanks for leading me on that train of thought: it was a very entertaining imaginary construct.

Owen: your “right to life” kills itself (what about its right to life?). If “society” owes “members of society” (and anarchists) their lives, then no one could have a right to property, because it would be required to preserve their lives. We then become a bunch of cockroaches eating each other, telling each other to stay alive: it doesn’t work. The only way to keep oneself alive is to maintain that one has a right to oneself, as property. No one else can attack you; but, in turn, you cannot attack someone else and live off of their blood (they may in fact gift it to you, but that would be a gift, obviously). So quite basically, right to property is part of the essence of life, but as soon as we claim a “right to life,” we basically turn life against itself. Life is your property in yourself; but you are not required to bleed for someone else.

Additionally, Owen, you’ll recall that the Irish enjoyed their anarchic existence, until they were taken over by a government that was external. And technically, that may be said of all government takeovers, because anyone governing is government (I won’t bother explaining that one; I think we can agree that it stands (to reason)). So, any governing force is separate from an anarchic force. Anarchy is voluntary is non-aggressive is capitalism; government is non-voluntary is aggressive is communism (if we could say that communism IS, which of course we can’t so instead, we’ll put death and nothingness as the antithesis to capitalism).

Considering that no one posted on the blog again after I got back from my week in Washington, D.C., I doubt that anyone will read this. However, if you do, please remember that there is no legitimate reason for government; but don’t take my word for it: read For A New Liberty, The Ethics of Liberty, Man Economy and State, and Power and Market, by Murray Rothbard, now available through the Mises Institute in print, PDF, and audiobook.

Mohamed November 17, 2008 at 12:45 pm

I think that capitalism and socialism failed. A perfect system wich never existed, should combine between these two systems. It should combine between the “defensive strategy” of the socialism and the “offensive strategy” of the capitalism. The proove of the failure of capitalism is the economical crises back to 1929 and today 2008.

Stanley Pinchak November 17, 2008 at 1:04 pm


Sorry, economics shows that the world doesn’t work that way.

Middle-of-the-Road Policy Leads to Socialism

jacob February 2, 2010 at 9:20 am

You all are stupid because in some ways it has failed our expectations and in other ways it has exceeded our expectations depends on what you focus on

jacob February 2, 2010 at 9:20 am

You all are stupid because in some ways it has failed our expectations and in other ways it has exceeded our expectations depends on what you focus on

mpolzkill February 2, 2010 at 9:28 am


If the market fails your expectations, the fault lies entirely with you.

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anonimo May 12, 2010 at 7:44 am

globalization is destruction

Alexis August 30, 2010 at 11:25 am

Capitalism is just a reason to maintain cheap labor. Why doesn’t the people as one, unite and fight for what’s right. Which is, keep what’s done from the blood of the workers… Resonably enough, and as simple as it might sounds, Republicans limit and chip off the freedom of us writers. O how the swift of my pencil strikes the dying art of paper. For the sake of total simplicity… x)

J. Murray August 30, 2010 at 11:31 am

You’re on the wrong website if you think we support Republicans.

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