TimC wrote:As political structures a centrally planned economy is the opposite position of a laissez-faire one (agreed). My point is that the current structure is somewhat of a hybrid, and the particular action of the government bailing out failing businesses (of any variety, for any reason) is not laissez faire capitalism.
Am I correct in assuming that when you say 'laissez-faire'
you're actually thinking 'no Govt interference whatsoever'
My (ill expressed) point was that laissez-faire leads to situations in which it's imperative for the Govt. to save the day.
TimC wrote:There are a range of definitions of free markets, ranging from: government doesn't act except to prevent the use of force, to government is allowed some regulatory measures and taxation, but I have yet to see a definition of free markets that includes (government can arbitrarily subsidize or bailout individual actors/agents in the marketplace).
No need to hit me with a straw-man. I just wanted to know where you're coming from.
TimC wrote:I think it's quite evident that the very act of bailing out or giving favourable regulation to a few specific corporations is antithetical to the definition of free markets.
Bailouts and (tailored) corrupt legislation are different things.
For all practical purposes, when bailouts are necessary the free
-market has failed. Unless you're OK with soup-kitchens and "natural" recovery, which may endanger your polity
and take long years to resolve.
Govts. have a duty to their citizens to prevent economic disasters. I, for one, have zero problems with bailing out sectors of the economy, as long as the Govt. doesn't reward specific actors for their failure.
TimC wrote:If specific actors in the markets can take actions based on protection from negative consequences of those actions by government, then other actors in the market that aren't protected can't freely compete with them. This very practice is a distortion of the market by government.
Yeah, corruption and moral hazard go hand in hand. Problem = political corruption NOT Govt.
TimC wrote:I'd also say that some of the worst tactics in the gilded age were political in nature and some of the worst monopolies were created by government action. See for instance abuse of monopoly powers granted by government subsidy or the attempt by the Rochester City Council to make money shorting a railway by granting and then refusing access to the city. Lastly, if you think the gilded age is the closest working example to libertarian ideals, I'd argue that it is a far more successful model than that of fully centrally planned economies: Historical Examples? It's disappointing that the expansion of the middle class in the gilded age wasn't more universal but the middle class existed, which was something better than any previous age. The overall economic growth of the period has been unparalleled before or since, and while GDP doesn't tell the whole story, GDP + emerging middle class + massive expansion of public services through charity seemed to be remarkable accomplishments relative to the alternatives for the time period. I think it's difficult to say the same for anything resembling a centrally planned economy at any time period in history.
You can't divorce economics from politics. The pioneers of the field used (correctly) the term political-economy
The Gilded Age was in many respects a triumph of crony capitalism, and Govt played a significant role. I did not mean to imply that it was a practical example of libertarianism. I simply think it's the natural by-product of and the best we can expect from implementing "libertarian" ideas.
Re. your claims that it brought a bounty to the average Joe, that charity worked wonders, and that Robber-Barron capitalism were the reason the US economy experienced an accelerated growth during that era, I'd like to see evidence rather than ipse dixits
. And BTW, that "emerging middle-class" was a) actually the working-class; and b) born out of bloody class warfare, that plutocrats tried (murderously) to suppress.
As for examples of high growth in centrally planned economies ... you gotta be shitting me. How about these: USSR, Nazi Germany, US during WWII.
TimC wrote:If we're in agreement that some degree of mixed economy is necessary, and are in disagreement over the type of that mixing and how much power we should allow the government to have that's an interesting conversation to have. One libertarian position is as much power as is necessary to solve the problems markets don't solve.
LOL, so we're all socialists now.
TimC wrote:This is a position I currently believe in, largely because I feel market forces solve some major problems, and don't solve other ones.
I won't latch on on the "feeling" part, but I'm genuinely interested to find out your list of "major problems" only markets
can solve, as well as those that markets
fail to address.
TimC wrote:Most implementations of centrally planned economies I've seen try and override market forces entirely which introduces a whole series of new problems to solve, usually by excessive authority that results in the state having unprecedented power to micromanage people's lives.
I'm wasn't arguing for Stalinism. Just correcting an inaccurate statement re. bailouts.
TimC wrote:As for predatory tactics and rapacity, most libertarians are not opposed to the Sherman act. If you're arguing against Randroidism rather than Libertarianism I imagine we're on the same page.
To the best of my knowledge there's no ideological injunction against monopolies in libertarian thought. The only caveat would be monopolies created using illegal/corrupt means. Moreover, anti-trust laws are seen by some prominent "libertarian" economists as Govt. interference and limitation of property rights. To wit, Greenspan's Antitrust
essay, where he clearly states that such trust-busting "inhibits businessmen from undertaking what would otherwise be sound productive ventures
Considering your views on Randroids (who are neo-liberals), would it not be more appropriate to call your economic position 'classical liberalism'?
TimC wrote:I just don't believe that government is benevolent by magic, and find politicians of all stripe predictably act in their own best interests and those of their contributors rather than the interests of those they are supposed to represent.
Just repeating "The Government is not the solution" does nothing to advance your position.
Govt. is a tool. The best tool we have to address large/societal problems.
Govt. corruption/problems can only be solved through political means, not trusting in the magic of the markets