There Are Important Values Besides Liberty
Compassion, justice, civic responsibility, honesty, decency, humility, respect, and even survival of the poor, weak, and vulnerable. All these trade off with liberty in important ways. Libertarians want to found society on only one value, private property (which they conflate with liberty.) People with other values will be burdened by having to pay for them.
- A Job Is More Than a Paycheck [More...]
- "In most of economic theory, a job isn't treated as something inherently valuable -- it's just a conduit through which money flows from employer to employee... To most people, the idea that jobs give people dignity and a sense of self-worth seems laughably obvious... But among economists, there remains a relentless unwillingness to consider the importance of dignity and social respect."
- Ethical Assumptions in Economic Theory: Some Lessons from the History of Credit and Bankruptcy [More...]
- Capitalism does not "distinguish between free contracts and contracts into bondage, or between agreements reached by self-debasement or a dignified offer." Thus it will "often require constraints on the scope of freedom of contract and property rights, against the laissez faire ideal."
- Freedom is More Than Small Government [More...]
- "My point simply is to suggest that there tends to be a myopia among conservatives and libertarians that is quick to condemn governmental curtailments of individual liberty, while failing to appreciate or even acknowledge expansions of personal freedom and many other things that have enormously improved our lives over those of our parents and grandparents, not to mention those in the distant past."
- Is big government bad for freedom, civil society, and happiness? [More...]
- "Do the gains from government goods, services, and transfers come at the cost of reduced freedom, weakened civil society, and diminished happiness? The experience of the world’s affluent democratic countries suggests that, at least so far, the answer is no."
- Is Libertarianism Fundamentally about Competition? Or about Property? [More...]
- David Brin attempts to find common ground between liberals and libertarians by stressing the value of competition. He concludes that: "today's libertarians are (I grieve to say it) in-effect quite mad."
- Libertarian Illusions [More...]
- "America has achieved it greatness not through a single-minded ideology but through pragmatism and the wisdom to embrace several important values. A vast majority of Americans today embrace liberty, civic responsibility, and compassion, and seek a government built upon all three."
- Markets: Guided by an Invisible Hand or Foot? [More...]
- "Adam Smith and his disciples today see markets working as if they were guided by a beneficent, invisible hand, allocating scarce productive resources and distributing goods and services efficiently. Critics, on the other hand, see markets working as if they were guided by a malevolent, invisible foot, misrepresenting people's preferences and misallocating resources."
- Marxism of the Right [More...]
- "The most fundamental problem with libertarianism is very simple: freedom, though a good thing, is simply not the only good thing in life."
- Morals and Markets [More...]
- "We present controlled experimental evidence on how market interaction changes how human subjects value harm and damage done to third parties." A research article published in Science.
- My Take on the Seven Things We Need to Focus on for Equitable Growth in America [More...]
- Brad DeLong presents seven progressive ideas that promote growth and simultaneously reduce inequality.
- Notes for Debate with Jeff Miron on Marty Nemko’s Radio Show [More...]
- "How much does each of us owe to all the rest for there being here to help us? How much do others owe each of us? How much larger are humanity’s collective resources because each of us is around?" Also, 8 kinds of market failure.
- One-Sided Delusions of a Libertarian [More...]
- "Shorter Ron Paul: Property Rights Superior to Civil Rights" Why Ron Paul would allow private segregation.
- Socialized Medicine (6 links)
- The proven method to the most economical and broadest provision of health benefits to a nation's populace. Rejected by libertarians because it is a government program; that is more important to them than the life and health of people.
- That's what freedom is all about: taking your own risks. [More...]
- Kent Snyder, Ron Paul's former campaign chairman, was young and uninsured. He died leaving $400,000 in hospital costs to his mother, who was incapable of paying. He fought for the "right" to inadequate care, placing burdens on charities, his social network and hospitals.
- The Second Bill Of Rights: FDR's UNfinished Revolution-- And Why We Need It More Than Ever (book)
- FDR proposed 8 economic rights: employment, with a living wage; food, clothing and leisure; farmers' rights to a fair income; freedom from unfair competition and monopolies; housing; medical care; social security; education. A foreshadowing of the Capability Approach.
- The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone (book) (1 link)
- Wilkinson and Pickett make an eloquent case that the income gap between a nation's richest and poorest is the most powerful indicator of a functioning and healthy society. -- Publishers Weekly
In most of economic theory, a job isn't treated as something inherently valuable -- it's just a conduit through which money flows from employer to employee... To most people, the idea that jobs give people dignity and a sense of self-worth seems laughably obvious... But among economists, there remains a relentless unwillingness to consider the importance of dignity and social respect.
Noah Smith, "A Job Is More Than a Paycheck"
People seem to be faintly drawn to the idea that there might be more political dimensions than just "left" and "right". Bullshit. Being in favour of allowing other people to take drugs, shag each other or read what they want isn't a political position; it's what we call "manners", "civilisation" or "humanity", depending on the calibre of yokel you're trying to educate. The political question of interest splits fair and square down a Left/Right axis: either you think that it is more important to provide a decent life for everyone in the world, or you think it is more important to preserve the rights of people who own property. You can hum and haw as much as you like about whether the two are necessarily incompatible, or whether the one is instrumental to the other, or what constitutes a "decent life" anyway, but when you've finished humming and hawing, I'm still gonna be asking you the question, and your answer to it will determine whether or not we're gonna have an argument.
Daniel Davies, http://d-squareddigest.blogspot.com, December 31, 2002
Alas, today's libertarians are (I grieve to say it) in-effect quite mad. They worship unlimited private property, even though it was precisely the failure mode that crushed freedom in 99% of human cultures. And they rage against a system that in general resulted in vastly more wealth, freedom and more libertarians than any other. This is a quasi-religious idolatry. It makes them complicit allies of the enemies of competition. It makes them murderers of the thing that they should love.
David Brin , "Is Libertarianism Fundamentally about Competition? Or about Property?"
We live in the richest societies in history. We produce so many times more than past societies that we could abolish almost all poverty, as has been done in so many Scandinavian nations. We are at the point where we can ask what ALL people should have. All people should have the Four Freedoms. All people should have education, medical care, food, clothing, housing. Who should be excepted and why? Libertarians have no answer here: their obsession with property above all other values produces Procrustean solutions at best. Libertarians have no ideological guidelines for balancing property with other values, no way to go beyond "I've got mine."
Mike Huben, "Libertarianism Has Unbalanced Values"
Critics often point out that this emphasis on economics debases and sacrifices other important values such as equality, social inclusion, democratic deliberation, and justice. Those political and social objectives obviously matter enormously, and in some contexts they matter the most. They cannot always, or even often, be achieved by means of technocratic economic policies; politics must play a central role.
Dani Rodrik, "Rescuing Economics from Neoliberalism"
[W]e have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.
George Orwell, "Review of Power: A New Social Analysis by Bertrand Russell"
Liberty and equality, spontaneity and security, happiness and knowledge, mercy and justice - all these are ultimate human values, sought for themselves alone; yet when they are incompatible, the cannot all be attained, choices must be made, sometimes tragic losses accepted in pursuit of some preferred ultimate end.
Isaiah Berlin, "The Power of Ideas" p. 27
First things come first [...] individual freedom is not everyone's primary need.
Isaiah Berlin, "Two Concepts of Liberty"