Actually existing markets (as opposed to theoretical free markets) are unnatural, are created by government, are rife with market failures, are amoral, are based on the coercion of property and rights, cannot escape crony capitalism and cannot be understood with simple economics 101 models.
- Free Market (19 links)
- "Free Market" (for libertarians) is a propaganda term, by which libertarians actually mean unregulated markets. Free markets cannot exist: they are an ideal model in economic theory. The vast majority of uses of "free market" are actually about real, regulated, imperfect markets, which are very little like free market models. Truly free markets would include markets for anything, including murder, and require perfect information and perfect competition. I recommend "unregulated market" instead of the propaganda term "free market".
- Markets Are Created By Government (6 links)
- Modern markets rely on stable property, transportation, currency, educated workers and customers, and other factors with enormous market failures. Remove the government infrastructure of these, and markets will shrivel.
- Market Failure (25 links)
- Real world economies are rife with market failure. This means choosing between second-best options such as imperfect markets, NGO's and government solutions. Ideology and economic theory cannot say which is best: you must resort to experimentation and history.
- Markets Are Amoral (2 links)
- Markets are tools, with as much morality in them as hammers. Hammers can build, hammers can kill: so can markets. Libertarians pretend markets and the transactions within them are always moral, but they are not.
- Coercion (18 links)
- Coercion is used in libertarian propaganda to brand things they don't like. Property and rights are fundamentally coercive; pretending that they are not coercive is one of the great libertarian lies. We choose public government to perform our desired coercion, because people are too partial to their own interests to be trusted.
- Crony Capitalism (4 links)
- Capitalist corruption of government for private gain. Libertarians use this term to describe any government/capitalist relationship they do not like and to excuse bad behavior by capitalists. But all capitalism is fundamentally crony capitalism because government favors owners with systems of property. Corporations, with their special privileges, are an especially clear example.
- Economics 101 (49 links)
- Also known as neoclassical economics and economism. Libertarians are fond of applying standard Economics 101 microeconomics principles to bash the state. They forget the many concealed ideological biases of Economics 101, they forget that the real world doesn't often match simple models, they forget market failures and they forget that microeconomics is not enough: you need macroeconomics too.
- Anthropology and Scientific Psychology (8 links)
- Libertarian philosophy and ideology (and indeed almost all economics) omit basic facts of anthropology, such as the fact that humans naturally engage in gift networks and sometimes barter, but that markets are unnatural to our psychology. They also usually ignore scientific psychology findings in favor of pop psychology. Capitalist exploitation relies on this fact.
It really looks from the anthropologists that Adam Smith was wrong--that we are not animals that like to "truck, barter, and exchange" with strangers but rather gift-exchange pack animals--that we manufacture social solidarity by gift networks, and those who give the most valuable gifts acquire status hereby.
Brad DeLong, "Economic Anthropology: David Graeber Meets the Noise Machine..."