The Essential Libertarian Fallacy…

I think free market competition is great for producing the best computers, but I am not so sure it is the answer for everything.  This interesting blogger thinks that the “availability bias error” is what leads Libertarians astray in understanding the issues at stake: “Because the shrinkage of government is an end unto itself for them, they assume the expansion of government is an end unto itself for liberals. Liberals are just libertarians, but backwards, and without the ‘rtarian.'”

Yes, give me computers and flat screen TVs that have been improved by free market conditions.  But, let’s be reasonable and question if unregulated free-market dynamics can give us optimal [for consumers] housing markets, day care for pre-schoolers, care for the elderly, and health care for the rest of us? 

Please folks, put your thinking caps on.  It is not difficult…



Filed under Economics

19 responses to “The Essential Libertarian Fallacy…

  1. The Koch family are the ubber-libertarians in our neck of the woods.

    The Kochs are in the top fifty richest people on the planet earth. Wiki says today’s earth population is 6,692,030,277 – over 6 billion. Is it possible people in the top 50/6billion + might have different priorities than those in the demoninator? When did democracy allow for the ignoring of the interests of the demoninator? Please let me know… “We the people” and all that…

  2. I don’t know why so many Republicans and Libertarians seem unable to see beyond dollar signs. They’ll talk reasonably for a short time when you bring up the obvious fire and police protection, safe water and food, highways…, but quickly forget anything good about government and revert back to dollar signs and opposition. Certainly they don’t want ‘a person’ to have something they deign isn’t deserved! They all have their favorite examples of someone who isn’t deserving.

  3. Be sure to click this link and check out the graphic!

    Here we go again: Hoover got us in, and WWII got us out. Bush got us in, and
    to his credit, started trying to get us out. Though, mostly he threw money at bankers.
    In the Great Depression, Roosevelt tried deficit spending, but he was too timid. Then he stopped in 1937 and the economy nose-dived. It took the humongous deficits of WWII to pull us out of the Great Depression. Those deficits blasted the economy from depression into overdrive.
    Of course after the war, we had to pay off a huge national debt, but during that time, from 1946 to 1980, the economy was mainly quite prosperous. We hit a bad recession when Reagan took office, and his early deficit spending made sense (though he didn’t know it). But then he continued to drive up the debt through the boom years that followed. That didn’t make any sense.
    We are now headed into the worst slump since 1938, and you better hope Obama can fix it because that was not a pretty time. Unfortunately, as in the Great Depression, the extreme conservatives would rather trash the country than have our government succeed. They are much worse than Bush.
    The main thing to remember is that, with consumer spending going down, business is going to lay people off—not hire them. You can’t blame business for this. It’s just a vicious cycle that the economy gets into. And you can’t blame consumers for not spending in bad times. The only way out of this, if we don’t want to wait 10 years, is for the government to spend, pay unemployment insurance, or give tax breaks to people who will spend (not the rich). Of course there’s also the problem of the banks. Obama should stop saving the bankers, and just take over the bad banks. Once they’re working they can be sold back to the private sector.

  4. I laugh loudest when it’s a politician screaming about how bad government is. You can’t make that stuff up!

  5. lilacluvr

    When I think of smaller government, I am not thinking of doing away with the government – I am thinking of how wasteful and fraud-ridden the current way our government works today.

    For the most recent example of that – look at the Homeland Security Department that GWB instituted. We got very good at strip searching all the little old grandmothers at the airports but did very little good overall – IMHO.

    I just heard about the spending bill that is going to Obama’s desk to be signed soon. There was something like 5,000 added-on pork projects that were never even discussed – they just added them on!

    It is that kind of blown-up government that I don’t like and I would love to see that stopped.

    Republicans love to rant and rave about the big government but they had their share of the big pie government when they had the power and what did we get for it?

    Very little good and a whole lot of bad.

  6. lilacluvr

    Republicans have always represented the wealthy people in this country. No matter how many times they try to say they are really for the little guy, that just means the little guy (short) in the corner that has a few billions in his offshore bank accounts.

    The word ‘little’ must have a different meaning in Republican Land??

    • “The word ‘little’ must have a different meaning in Republican Land??”

      It seems to refer to their minds! And they have ‘little’ compassion.

      Most Republicans aren’t wealthy, don’t statistics show greater wealth among the Democratic Party? The disparity among the uber wealthy and everyone else has grown so great during the last few years, that those at the top are a very few but the wealth they control is greater.

      I don’t think wealth determines your ability to feel compassion for mankind. And to judge who is worthy takes a special kind of hate-filled person.

      I am wealthy in my opinion — I have health, love, respect, and enough to share.

      • lilacluvr

        Success is more important to me than having wealth.

        Some people count how many possessions they have as being successful or what level on the corporate ladder they happen to be at that moment.

        But the trouble with possessions and that corporate ladder – both can be very fleeting.

        I’ve known rich people, middle class and poor people. Of all the different classes – the rich have the worst time coping if something drastic happens and they lose all their posesssions, job and status in their social circle.

        But middle class and poor people are used to doing without at times.

        My grandfather was a simple man, doing a simple man’s job (night watchman at the water plant) but he raised 6 good kids, had lots of grandchildren and was a very happy man.

        He died suddenly at the age of 64. At his funeral there were hundreds of people that came up to the family and told of how special my grandfather was to them.

        You see, my grandfather helped people with money, food or got a few their jobs in the lean times.

        My grandfather knew the real secret of life – giving to others.

        When a person gives, they are really giving to themselves because that one act of kindness will come back ten-fold.

        My grandfather was not a church-going man but he was very spiritual. And by the response of the people in attendance at his funeral – he was a very well respected and loved friend to all who met him.

  7. Monkeyhawk

    I’m tired of typing these words:

    Health is not market-driven.

    So there’s no market-based solution.

    You don’t get cancer because you can afford it.

    • Agreed, MH. Given the inelasticity of demand for health care, there is no rational reason to believe there is a “free market” solution to the underlying issues.

      If there was a “pure” free market, i.e., both buyer and seller have the same simultaneous qualitative and quantitative access to all information relevant to the transaction, the above might not be true. Given the restrictions on entry into the provider side of the market, e.g., licensing of physicians, there are obvious issues with the access to information by the consumer. Consider patents, as another example.

      There is, of course, no such thing as a true “free market”. There has never been, to my knowledge. To pretend otherwise is whistling in the wind.

    • Amen, brother Monkeyhawk.

  8. Besides, when it’s the health-care issue we’re discussing, it’s a fact that the government has been running efficient programs and doing a better job than the private sector.

    Of course we don’t have a bill that simply states, “Medicare for all.” And if we did they same yahoos would want to keep it for themselves while protecting against anyone else getting what they’ve got.

  9. I would also give consideration to the effect of a market resembling a “free market” would have overall. The most obvious example, to my mind, is labor, and to state the obvious, the ability to seek the lowest cost for labor. Like it or not, there is no reason in a “free market” to concern oneself with issues of national borders. Thus, if the total cost of completing the manufacture and delivery of widgets is 50% lower in locale X, why should not a company in location Y not take advantage of this disparity, when (given the above thoughts) the purchaser of widgets would know of the lower costs in arriving at the price to be paid therefor?

  10. lilacluvr

    Republicans are always yapping about the free market but I wonder how much they would be yelping if American consumers stopped buying their foreign-made crap?

    I suspect Republicans love the idea of cheaper labor from illegal immigrants or the third world countries, but when these companies then turn around and want Americans to buy their products – then they expect us to be loyal customers.


    So, what would these companies do if Americans just banded together and stopped buying all foreign-made or illegal immigrant made products?

    I know, I know – Americans would never unite over such an endeavor – but I just wonder what the Republicans’ rant would be then?

    After all, free market being free and all….

  11. Upon reading this later in the day, I wanted to emphasize that I was not exhorting anyone who regularly posts here to be reasonable. Rather I am asking for reasoning from people who “over-generalize” the free market idea into all areas of life – even to places where it obviously does not fit.

  12. There is no such thing as a free market, by the way.

    Market “forces” include government subsidization, price-fixing, collusion among a few monopolistic corporate suppliers and debt-servicing deals that the consumer has no knowledge of nor control over. But these are not the “market forces” that teachers of the fairy tale of the “free market” ever teach.

    The whole idea that there is free market capitalism is a giant lie perpetrated by the monopolistic powers that own the whole corrupt system.

    I know that sounds paranoid, but it’s true. So, why are we even talking about free-market solutions?

    It’s like discussing using the “Force” to solve our problems. Not bloodly likely to solve anything.

  13. Obviously keeping up on his PPP blog reading, today Paul Krugman writes:

    “Oh, and conservatives simply ignore the catastrophe in commercial real estate: in their universe the only bad loans were those made to poor people and members of minority groups, because bad loans to developers of shopping malls and office towers don’t fit the narrative.

    “In part, the prevalence of this narrative reflects the principle enunciated by Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” As Democrats have pointed out, three days before the House vote on banking reform Republican leaders met with more than 100 financial-industry lobbyists to coordinate strategies. But it also reflects the extent to which the modern Republican Party is committed to a bankrupt ideology, one that won’t let it face up to the reality of what happened to the U.S. economy.

    “So it’s up to the Democrats — and more specifically, since the House has passed its bill, it’s up to “centrist” Democrats in the Senate. Are they willing to learn something from the disaster that has overtaken the U.S. economy, and get behind financial reform?

    “Let’s hope so. For one thing is clear: if politicians refuse to learn from the history of the recent financial crisis, they will condemn all of us to repeat it. ”

  14. lilacluvr

    The free market is not really free if government is subsidizing everyone and everything.

    I have come to the conclusion that Republicans really love government – when it is they who holds the power of the purse.

    Ahh….beautiful money …