Tag Archive: markets: Social Memory Complex

Do you love commerce?

As a footnote to my last post, here's the choice Jeffrey Tucker leaves us with in his ringing defense of fast food:

Murray Rothbard used the phrase "do you hate the state?" to ferret out real from mild libertarians. As a correlative question, we might ask "do you love commerce?" to ferret out real defenders of real markets as versus those who just enjoy standing in moral judgement over the whole world as it really exists. Yes, I too am against corn subsides, and against all subsidies, as well as taxes, regulations, inflation, zoning, public roads and everything else. In a free market, everything would thrive even more than it does today, and that goes for fast food too.

I have some responses.


Written on Sunday, June 05, 2011
Tags: markets, libertarianism, market-fundamentalism

The Insecurity of Efficiency

I saw this video on Chris George's blog and it is truly remarkable for its application of evolutionary psychology insights to our present society. Of course, Reason is going to favor arguments that make markets seem desirable and socialism undesirable. But the way in which evolutionary psychology and human scale play into this question can be extended in several directions. On the one hand, markets are good at producing material wealth efficiently, but they aren't good at making people feel secure and connected to their fellow man in the way our hunter/gatherer ancestors did.

You can either see this insecurity as a flaw in the human being or a flaw in the economic system that correlates highly to a right-leaning or left-leaning perspective on the human condition. But the core question remains: is an unfettered embrace of globalization sustainable from a psychological point of view? Markets are good at allocation and wealth creation, but if they hamper happiness and flourishing then they can only be said to be "working" in a very narrow sense.

Libertarians must not only educate people about market economics but also recognize the market's limits. A thick approach to libertarianism can, in fact, give us guidance on the kinds of extra-market values we must work towards - values which markets are utterly incapable of providing but which nevertheless determine the health of a society.

Written on Monday, February 21, 2011
Tags: markets, evolution, psychology

Liberty is the Mother, Not the Daughter, of Any Market Worth Having

I haven't weighed in much on Wikileaks because everything I'd write has been written by better writers. Readers here shouldn't need to resort to wild speculation as to my position: Wikileaks is in the absolute right on each and every matter, and the government as per usual in the wrong. Cablegate is just the latest in a series of heroic and perilous pantsings administered by Assange et al. The weakness of the lumbering, bureaucratic monolith of the U.S. government is exposed for all to see if they choose; it remains to be seen whether Americans care.

My interest today has more to do with Amazon.com's booting of Wikileaks from their web services hosting. The Amazon Web Services statement explains the supposed motivations are not the result of Joe Lieberman's bullying - the tone suggesting outrage that anybody would dare think Amazon.com would cave to such pressure. Instead, they provide two reasons for their decision:

  1. Wikileaks' supposed violation of their terms of service because they do not own the content they are publishing (even though the public pays for it)


    Written on Thursday, December 02, 2010
    Tags: libertarianism, markets, economics, censorship, wikileaks, cablegate