What's new

From Critiques Of Libertarianism
Jump to: navigation, search

Most Recent Quotations are listed separately.

NEW 7/13/2017: The Libertarians Have Been Laser Focused on Destroying Our Social Security System for Almost 40 Years
Social Security is the largest pot of money the world has ever known. Thus, the right wing has targeted it, certain that the plutocrats will scoop up the dropped money. James Buchanan was advising them since before the Reagan era. [more...]
NEW 7/13/2017: How Market Power Leads to Corporate Political Influence [More...]
"Neoclassical economic theory assumes that firms have no power to influence the rules of the game... This is true only in competitive product markets. When firms have market power, they will seek and obtain political influence and vice versa." [more...]
NEW 7/09/2017: Jason Brennan
A weak philosophical propagandist who claims to argue from "commonsense moral principles". Is this really any better than Steven Colbert (or Nietzsche) going with his gut? Likes deleting other's comments in Bleeding Heart Libertarians blog. [more...]
NEW 7/09/2017: Democracy: Probably a Good Thing [More...]
"Some people openly advocate elite rule. They are both evil and foolish." [more...]
NEW 7/09/2017: Against Democracy
Existing democracy is compared to ideal rule by experts, epistocracy. Laughable. [more...]
NEW 7/09/2017: Epistocracy
A notion favored by many libertarians that popular democracy doesn't work so most people should be disenfranchised in favor of "experts". They don't say it, but that's what Communist parties are. They never have a good explanation of what experts are needed, how they will be chosen, and how they can be prevented from self-dealing. [more...]
NEW 7/08/2017: Hegel’s Science of Logic: Laws of Identity and Diversity [More...]
Hegel had a lot to say about this. Yet another example of Ayn Rand not giving credit. [more...]
NEW 7/08/2017: Rational Ignorance
Frequently people choose not to learn because the costs of learning are greater than the (usually direct) benefits. This is a large problem for democracy and public goods. Group affiliation and heuristic reasoning frequently substitute. [more...]
Who’s Afraid of Friedrich Hayek? The Obvious Truths and Mystical Fallacies of a Hero of the Right [More...]
Are you a Real Libertarian, or a ROYAL Libertarian? [More...]
Will Workers and Consumers Get Their Day in Court? [More...]
The Intellectual Underpinning of a "Mean" Republican Party [More...]
Galt’s Gulch Chile Is Going Great [More...]
Why Libertarians Should Read Marx [More...]
Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America
_placeholder_ [more...]
ECONned: How Unenlightened Self Interest Undermined Democracy and Corrupted Capitalism
_placeholder_ [more...]
Free Speech
Free speech is one of our most important liberties: yet somehow libertarians have no compunction about prohibiting free speech on private property. Especially the workplace. Nor do they recognize that there are practical limits to free speech, such as incitement to violence. [more...]
Which speech do you choose to defend, and which do you choose to shut down? [More...]
"You need moderation for free speech to work. There are inherent contradictions and incompatibilities that make it impossible to be truly neutral on speech. For example, social norms can have a silencing effect." [more...]
Wage Theft
The simplest way for a capitalist to make more money is to not pay employees what he has promised and what he is legally obliged to pay. That's wage theft, and it is epidemic. Donald Trump exemplifies this problem, and is notorious for non-payment. [more...]
Libertarians are, by self-admission, radicals. They wish to overthrow numerous institutions and replace them with their idealist and untested private substitutes. Radicalism usually has horrendous results: let them try it some place with less to lose than the entire USA. [more...]
A Dispassionate Assessment of Libertarians [More...]
"Not a few of the people who have studied closely with me or who have become my assistants had been attracted, a few years earlier, to the arguments of Ayn Rand or of Murray Rothbard. But as they read more widely, they had become conscious of the inadequacies and extravagances of the various libertarian factions; as they had began to pay serious attention to our present political difficulties, they had seen how impractical are the libertarian proposals." [more...]
Libertarians claim to eliminate politics by retaining only protection of property among government services (if that too is not privatized.) This, too, is another strategy of privatization of power, a way for the largest, richest property owners to make political decisions with their wealth and private security forces, as in feudalism. [more...]
Ayn Rand Railed Against Government Benefits, But Grabbed Social Security and Medicare When She Needed Them [More...]
"Rand also believed that the scientific consensus on the dangers of tobacco was a hoax. By 1974, the two-pack-a-day smoker, then 69, required surgery for lung cancer. And it was at that moment of vulnerability that she succumbed to the lure of collectivism." [more...]
Why being wrong can be right: Magical warfare technologies and the persistence of false beliefs [More...]
"Belief in a spell that offers protection from bullets helped villagers liberate their village, and others in the area, from militias, providing an example of how the ‘right’ amount of ‘wrong’ beliefs can achieve a socially efficient outcome." [more...]
Defense against predation both external and internal is a classic public good which libertarians have no real way of providing short of re-inventing government. Even Nozick thought private defense agencies would consolidate into a monopoly which would justifiably tax. Individualist plans for defense are fundamentally fantasy. [more...]
Rigged. Forced into debt. Worked past exhaustion. Left with nothing. [More...]
Libertarians routinely deny that the scandals of "The Jungle" (100 years ago) had anything to do with reality. But here is a real-life, current example of how capitalist trucking companies load the odds against successful truck ownership by employees, in ways similar to the housing contacts in the novel. [more...]
JK Rowling thanks the welfare system for her success, Hogwarts is government funded, and all the heroes grow up to work in prominent government positions. But that won't stop libertarians from claiming Harry Potter as their own. [More...]
"Harry Potter makes one of the most powerful cases for libertarianism in children’s literature." If you stretch things enough and ignore innumerable counterexamples. [more...]
A really common ideological fallacy is to look at a person or work and claim it for libertarianism because you spotted a few similarities to libertarian ideology. Ridiculous examples include Harry Potter, the Bible, etc. This requires obliviousness to obvious non-libertarian aspects. [more...]
If fireproofing is a waste for the poor, it is also a waste for the rich [More...]
Matt Bruenig rips Megan McArdle a new one over a grotesque article about how fire regulations are dangerous. [more...]
Kansas’s conservative experiment may have gone worse than people thought [More...]
"A working paper by economists at Oklahoma State University suggests that cutting taxes actually may have damaged Kansas's economy, resulting in fewer jobs, reduced incomes and a slower pace of growth." [more...]
The Long-Run Effects of Immigration during the Age of Mass Migration [More...]
"We find that locations with more historical immigration today have higher incomes, less poverty, less unemployment, higher rates of urbanization, and greater educational attainment. The long-run effects appear to arise from the persistence of sizeable short-run benefits, including greater industrialization, increased agricultural productivity, and more innovation." [more...]
Is America Encouraging the Wrong Kind of Entrepreneurship? [More...]
Identifies unproductive entrepreneurship due to rent seeking. Libertarians like to pretend there is no dark side to capitalism, but this one is obvious and has long been considered corruption. [more...]
Rent Seeking
Libertarians often blame government for rent seeking behavior. That is the fault of capitalist entrepreneurs themselves, who lobby government to put in place obstacles for competitors. [more...]
Finally, Something Isn’t the Matter With Kansas [More...]
"The cuts came. But the growth never did. As the rest of the country was growing at rates of just above 2 percent, Kansas grew at considerably slower rates, finally hitting just 0.2 percent in 2016. Revenues crashed. " [more...]
The Majority Report with Sam Seder (YouTube) [More...]
The Majority Report with Sam Seder is a listener supported, internet talk radio program and podcast hosted by actor/comedian Sam Seder. Frequently ridicules libertarians. Home page. [more...]
Libertarian Delusions: Exposing the Flaws in Libertarian Thinking [More...]
Identifies problems with self-ownership, the idea of eliminating politics, the public choice viewpoint and blanket opposition to state action. [more...]
Denialism: what is it and how should scientists respond? [More...]
"The employment of rhetorical arguments to give the appearance of legitimate debate where there is none, an approach that has the ultimate goal of rejecting a proposition on which a scientific consensus exists." Denialism uses 5 major tactics. [more...]
The Shouting Class [More...]
"But a subset of people will never stop complaining. When a problem becomes less severe, they switch to a different problem. And they will always find some problem that they feel requires their vocal complaint. That subset -- the people who will never stop complaining and giving negative feedback - are the Shouting Class." [more...]
The Capability Approach: a theoretical survey [More...]
"This paper aims to present a theoretical survey of the capability approach in an interdisciplinary and accessible way. It focuses on the main conceptual and theoretical aspects of the capability approach, as developed by Amartya Sen, Martha Nussbaum, and others." See especially figure 1, pg. 98. [more...]
Anything private enterprise can do, government should be able to do too.
Libertarians frequently condemn government for doing things that libertarians would permit to private enterprise. This is a simple hypocrisy or special pleading. Between property and private contract, there is hardly anything government could do that hasn't already been done by private enterprise. [more...]
Political Determinants of Competition in the Mobile Telecommunication Industry [More...]
"We show that the way a government designs the rules of the game has an impact on concentration, competition, and prices. Pro-competition regulation reduces prices, but does not hurt quality of services or investments. More democratic governments tend to design more competitive rules, while more politically connected operators are able to distort the rules in their favor, restricting competition. Government intervention has large redistributive effects: U.S. consumers would gain $65bn a year if U.S. mobile service prices were in line with German ones and $44bn if they were in line with Danish ones." [more...]
The Right to Have Rights [More...]
An overview of In Praise of Litigation by Alexandra Lahav. Our rights to sue are slowly being limited, not just by “litigation reform” acts but particularly by Supreme Court decisions that made it harder for plaintiffs to challenge secret wrongdoing by companies, enhanced government officials’ immunity from private lawsuits, enforced mandatory arbitration clauses in standard form contracts, limited the jurisdictional reach of federal courts, etc. The common theme is increasing restrictions on the ability of ordinary people (or small businesses in some cases) to challenge illegal actions by large companies and governments. [more...]
It's Safe Streets Versus Urban Terror : In the '50s, rampant crime didn't exist because offenders feared what the police would do. [More...]
Here's what he praises: "No matter the vagaries of the court system, a mugger or rapist knew he faced a trouncing -- proportionate to the offense and the offender -- in the back of the paddy wagon, and maybe even a repeat performance at the station house. As a result, criminals were terrified of the cops, and our streets were safe." That's liberty? [more...]
Libertarians Seek a Home on the High Seas: The unlikely rise -- and anti-democratic impulses -- of seasteading. [More...]
"Government is not simply an albatross around the neck of otherwise free individuals. When it works, it protects the vulnerable and guards the commons -- essential tasks at which the free market so often fails. Ocean dwellers will also need those protections. Much as we might like to, we can’t escape the political, even by walking into the sea." [more...]
Same Old, Same Old [More...]
"Epstein’s latest book targets the administrative state as the enemy of classical liberalism, and argues that the administrative state is inconsistent with the rule of law, but Epstein fails to come to grips with objections that have been made many times to arguments of this sort. Indeed, James Landis, a New Dealer and dean of the Harvard Law School, addressed similar arguments in 1938 and offered root-and-branch objections about which Epstein says barely a word." [more...]
Markets Today Are Radically Different Than What We Believe -- We Have the Façade of Competition [More...]
"Will the collection of consumer data by digital platforms ultimately expand choice and empower consumers, or will it be used to diminish consumer surplus?" [more...]
Big Government
Isn't it strange that all first-world countries have big government? Maybe it's a good thing, and not the bogeyman of libertarians and the right. [more...]
Critiques Of Libertarianism
The subject of this site is libertarianism: in the broad, poorly defined colloquial sense which includes Objectivism, neoliberalism, classical liberalism and a host of other ill-defined variants. All are united by a rhetoric of liberty, bad philosophy and fallacious "free market" claims of various sorts. The Koch brothers and their ilk have been pushing this harmful political theory for around 60 years with vast amounts of money, and have captured the Republican party. [more...]
Gang rape is democracy.
'Five people say "Yes," one person says "No," and the majority rules.' Which is why every state has laws legalizing rape. The real-world example of rape is by capitalism. It's called slavery, where people are property and can be raped, tortured, starved or murdered at the arbitrary will of the owner. [more...]
Taxation Is Slavery
A common libertarian theme, that interprets taxation of X% as slavery of X% of your time. The easy response is that you can emigrate: something slaves, serfs, peons and other chattel are not permitted. There is also a ridiculous "Lost Cause"/Sovereign Citizens theme that the 14th Amendment made all of us slaves to the federal government. [more...]
Economically Illiterate
An accusation leveled when opponents disagree with Economics 101 fallacies. [more...]
Adhesion Contracts
Almost all consumer contracts nowadays are adhesion contracts, standard forms which you can accept or not accept. No negotiation. They are used to remove rights of consumers to judicial remedies (through enforced arbitration and prohibition of class-action lawsuits) and entrap employees through non-compete and non-disclosure clauses. This is a case where restricting freedom of contract (to contract away rights) retains other freedoms for the consumer. [more...]
A few books to help you understand what is wrong with libertarianism.
These books generally do not attack libertarianism directly, but as you read them, you will understand more about how libertarianism is basically propaganda in favor of the policies the .01% want and how libertarianism has basically no philosophical legs to stand on.. [more...]
Economism and Arbitration Clauses [More...]
"It’s unlikely that anyone actually believes that consumers understand arbitration clauses and take them into account when making buying choices. These arguments aren’t meant to be taken seriously. They are air cover for banking executives who like taking advantage of customers and politicians who want to do favors for the financial lobby. That’s the purpose of economism, and why it continues to be so influential." They are just parts of adhesion contracts. [more...]
Economic Ideas You Should Forget (publisher website) [More...]
"Shows the weaknesses of various traditional economic concepts and ideas. Rejects major economic ideas including the Coase Theorem, Say’s Law, Bounded Rationality, Bayesianism, and many more. Provides a vast overview of the economic profession and currently dominant thought." [more...]
Masters of the Universe: Hayek, Friedman, and the Birth of Neoliberal Politics
"Based on archival research and interviews with leading participants in the movement, Masters of the Universe traces the ascendancy of neoliberalism from the academy of interwar Europe to supremacy under Reagan and Thatcher and in the decades since." [more...]
Economic Ideas You Should Forget
By discussing problematic theoretical assumptions and drawing on the latest empirical research, 71 authors question specific hypotheses and reject major economic ideas from the “Coase Theorem” to “Say’s Law” and “Bayesianism.” [more...]
Libertarianism by any other name would still stink.
There has been a ridiculous product proliferation for names of libertarianism. It might be sensible if the different names meant substantially different things, but usually they don't. [more...]
Liberty Upsets Patterns
A saying of Robert Nozick. But property is a pattern, and real liberty would not observe it. Patterns of liberty are also upset when people have the liberty to politically organize. But this is really a tautology: patterns only exist because liberty is restrained. [more...]
Hayek and others make a big deal about how markets are self-organizing. But many other things are self organizing, such as government and families. But the amount of self-organizing a market can do is based on a number of factors produced by governments, such as stable property. [more...]
The Voluntaryists: Humanity's Last Stand Against Government [More...]
An unbelievably lame superhero comic, where the government villains are all ugly and the libertarian superheroes are all beautiful. Even more laughable, there are an equal number of libertarian female superheroes. Propaganda for those too stupid to read Atlas Shrugged. [more...]
Antimonopoly Is as Old as the Republic [More...]
Should the U.S. enforce more explicit restrictions on monopolies, or can innovation and democracy alone mitigate the pervasive effects of monopoly power? A panel of historians and economists at the recent Stigler Center conference on concentration in America discussed the historical evolution of this debate. [more...]
The Unfreeing of American Workers [More...]
"You might say, with only a bit of hyperbole, that workers in America, supposedly the land of the free, are actually creeping along the road to serfdom, yoked to corporate employers the way Russian peasants were once tied to their masters’ land." [more...]
Google Is as Close to a Natural Monopoly as the Bell System Was in 1956 [More...]
"Media scholar Jonathan Taplin, author of the new book Move Fast and Break Things, on the rent-seeking and regulatory capture of digital platforms." [more...]
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." [more...]
The Dystopian Future of Price Discrimination [More...]
It's easy to imagine how personally tailored pricing could go terribly wrong. [more...]
Hayek Meets Information Theory. And Fails. [More...]
Modern economic theories of prices-as-information are seventy years out of date. [more...]
Child Labor during the British Industrial Revolution [More...]
A fine overview. "During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries Great Britain became the first country to industrialize. Because of this, it was also the first country where the nature of children’s work changed so dramatically that child labor became seen as a social problem and a political issue." [more...]
Mad Marx: The Class Warrior [More...]
A good take on Mad Max, also featuring Rand and Hayek. The only big errors are that Rand wasn't smoking and Rand was much fatter. [more...]
Still relevant, though capitalists want you to think it is dead. Not political communism: an alternative philosophical viewpoint for examining social and political issues that bypasses nonsensical Natural Rights and some of the blinkered absurdities of methodological individualism. [more...]
Charles Murray is once again peddling junk science about race and IQ [More...]
"There is currently no reason at all to think that any significant portion of the IQ differences among socially defined racial groups is genetic in origin." [more...]
The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life
An atrocious exercise in cherrypicking data to support racist themes of black inferiority. Citations from classic racist literature. Debunked by innumerable academics. The argument was based on numerous faulty assumptions, statistical monkey business and appeal to racist inclinations. Not peer reviewed before publication. No support for the genetic claims made in this book has ever been found. [more...]
Great Transformations: Economic Ideas and Institutional Change in the Twentieth Century
_placeholder_ [more...]
Vast literatures as mud moats [More...]
"Vast literatures" can be a waste of time when they are propaganda, content-free, or generally erroneous. Demands that you familiarize yourself with vast literatures before you argue can be mere rhetorical strategies, rather than genuine requirements for understanding. [more...]
The siren song of homogeneity [More...]
There is a strong strain of racism in some libertarian factions. This article discusses the claims about homogeneity in depth, and finds that it does not necessarily create distrust and it is impractical to recreate. [more...]
Don't Be Churlish About Taxes; Look To Scandinavia [More...]
" I suggest right here and now that we regain the framing on taxes. Especially in the age of Trump, we need to make tax evasion to be the act of someone who hates this country, not of being "smart."... Taxes are the costs for living in a society. We should want to make this nation a stronger society, not begrudge our contribution to the nation's collective happiness." [more...]
World Happiness Report [More...]
A UN report. "Increasingly, happiness is considered to be the proper measure of social progress and the goal of public policy." Detailed explanations of the social foundations, key determinants, and workplace requirements for happiness. [more...]
Why shouldn't we attempt to maximize happiness, among other values? Especially for the lowest incomes. Libertarianism presumes markets maximize happiness (if is considers happiness at all), but "money can't buy me love." [more...]
Happy as a Dane: 10 Secrets of the Happiest People in the World
The "secrets" are trust, education, freedom and independence, equal opportunity, realistic expectations, solidarity and respect for others, work-life balance, relationship to money, modesty, and gender equality. [more...]
Refutation of Dogmas by Empirical Economics
Much of the economics recited by libertarians is Derp, but many older economics ideas have had a long evidence-free existence that is now being clearly refuted by modern empirical economics methods. [more...]
Everything We Knew About Sweatshops Was Wrong [More...]
"People who worked in agriculture or market selling earned about as much money as they could have at the factory, often with fewer hours and better conditions. We were amazed: By the end of a year only a third of the people who had landed an industrial job were still employed in the industrial sector at all." [more...]
There is a huge literature on the known harms of sweatshops, but these are usually excused by theoretical benefits. Now literature is appearing that shows the supposed benefits aren't really there. [more...]
Propaganda, Marketing and Public Relations
Major industries whose entire purpose is to create impressions without regard for truth. This enables manipulation of the masses for greater power and profit. All work with the same principles. [more...]
The tax haven in the heart of Britain [More...]
"The corporation is an ancient, semi-alien entity lodged inside the British nation state; a "prehistoric monster which had mysteriously survived into the modern world", as a 19th-century would-be City reformer put it. The words remain apt today. Few people care that London has a mayor and a lord mayor - but they should: the corporation is an offshore island inside Britain, a tax haven in its own right." [more...]
The City of London Corporation: the state within a state [More...]
"And the chances of the UK government taking active steps to rein in the City's powers and privileges are also close to zero, since this government and its predecessors, have been almost wholly captive to the interests of financial capitalism." [more...]
Money Laundering and the City of London’s “Crime Scene”: Haven of Tax Havens for the Mega-Wealthy [More...]
"When it comes to The City of London, the term ‘tax haven’ is not describing all that it should. It doesn’t just shield the mega-wealthy from paying their fair dues it goes further and offers a departure from the rule of law as you would know it. Secrecy is its raison d’être. These secrecy laws do not benefit the local people living in its jurisdiction but only those individuals and corporations with enough money and with something to hide." [more...]
City of London
The City of London, roughly a square mile of financial district in London proper, is an actual, existing charter city. Business voters vastly outnumber residents and roughly 400,000 workers commute in and out. It is the center of a worldwide web of tax avoidance and crony capitalism, and the real reason why libertarian ideas of charter cities will fail: they cannot compete. [more...]
Is It Time to Break Up Google? [More...]
"We are going to have to decide fairly soon whether Google, Facebook and Amazon are the kinds of natural monopolies that need to be regulated, or whether we allow the status quo to continue, pretending that unfettered monoliths don’t inflict damage on our privacy and democracy." [more...]
Digital Monopolies
Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Alphabet (Google) and Facebook are the 5 largest companies in the USA. Why? Because they are all natural monopolies due to network externalities that rely on intellectual property protections. [more...]
We can't let John Deere destroy the very idea of ownership. [More...]
"Over the last two decades, manufacturers have used the DMCA to argue that consumers do not own the software underpinning the products they buy -- things like smartphones, computers, coffeemakers, cars, and, yes, even tractors." [more...]
Lead: America's Real Criminal Element [More...]
"The hidden villain behind violent crime, lower IQs, and even the ADHD epidemic... Put this all together and the benefits of lead cleanup could be in the neighborhood of $200 billion per year. In other words, an annual investment of $20 billion for 20 years could produce returns of 10-to-1 every single year for decades to come. Those are returns that Wall Street hedge funds can only dream of." [more...]
Phase-out of leaded petrol brings huge health and cost benefits-- United Nations–backed study [More...]
"The California State University study cites the massive benefits the phase-out has brought, including more than 1.2 million fewer premature deaths annually, 125,000 of them of children, with tests showing lead in blood levels dropping dramatically by 90 per cent or more, particularly in cities... It is estimated that $2.4 trillion in costs have been saved each year, equivalent to 4 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP)." [more...]
Freedom for the wolves has often meant death to the sheep.
There are many types of freedoms that benefit the powerful while harming the weak. Libertarians are almost always in favor of those. Regulation is needed to eliminate those harms to the weak. [more...]
Rationality (Economics)
Rationality has a special meaning in economics, having to do with ideal models of human thinking that generally do not match what humans are actually capable of and are known to do. Humans use other methods instead: see Actual Human Rationality. [more...]
Why the 101 model doesn't work for labor markets [More...]
The Econ 101 supply-and-demand model is just not a good description for the labor market. Supply-and-demand graphs are for one single commodity; labor is highly heterogeneous. [more...]
Coercion and the “Taxation is Theft” Argument [More...]
"The belief that taxation is theft obviously implies that property rights are absolute or at least high in value. But why on earth should property rights rank above human life?" Also Ludwig von Mises declares "There is, however, no such thing as natural law." [more...]
Come See the Violence Inherent in the System [More...]
"The video is violent and repulsive, but only insofar as all property and contract enforcement is. The forceful removal of the passenger is not an extraordinary aberration from our civilized capitalist order. Rather, it is an example of the everyday violence (and threatened violence) that keeps that capitalist order running." [more...]
Loren Lomasky: Taxation is Not Theft [More...]
"It is, therefore, not only misleading but also an exercise in borderline incivility to equate taxation with theft, for if it is then taken in its straightforward sense, that pronouncement denies the legitimacy of the social order and announces that I regard myself as authorized unilaterally to override its dictates as I would the depredations of a thief. It says to my neighbors that I regard them as, if not themselves thieves, then confederates or willing accomplices to thievery." [more...]
Taxation Is Not Theft [More...]
"The situation can be compared to a private club that charges a membership fee in exchange for providing benefits and amenities to its members. Obviously, the club is within its rights to charge whatever price it believes fair in exchange for this. If you believe the price is too high, you’re free to renounce your membership and leave the club. What you’re not free to do is to refuse to pay, but demand that you still be allowed to sit in the club and use its facilities." [more...]
No it’s not your money: why taxation isn’t theft [More...]
You have neither a a legal right nor a moral right to your entire pre-tax income. [more...]
Brazil’s Largest Food Companies Raided in Tainted Meat Scandal [More...]
Libertarians routinely deny that the scandals of "The Jungle" (100 years ago) had anything to do with reality. But here is a real-life, current example of how capitalist meat companies will sell adulterated and tainted meat if they can. That's why we have the FDA. [more...]
Nickel-and-dime socialism [More...]
The shock doctrine adoption of capitalism in Russia resulted in millions of early deaths. Increasing the socialism in a mixed economy can be done gently and gradually with social wealth funds, retaining thriving capitalism. Social wealth funds are already common worldwide, and can be greatly increased, primarily at the expense of the top .01%. [more...]
False Claims to Rationality and Logic
Many libertarians make ridiculous claims to logic and rationality. Simple test: can you construct a coherent chain of syllogisms to the beliefs and conclusions of these authors? The answer is always no. [more...]
Skepticism of Rationality [More...]
Ask your average person what rationality is, and they will inevitably come up with a charicature, like Spock from Star Trek, Sherlock Holmes, Mentor of Arisia, or some other fictional character. Political and philosophical arguments are full of claims about rationality of postions, all contradicting each other. What do we really mean by the word rational? [more...]
Actual Human Rationality
Human reason consists of MANY methods besides logic, notably informal fallacies and heuristic reasoning. [more...]
Usually, "rational" is a Humpty-Dumpty word, that means whatever the user finds is convenient to club his oponents with. Either by defining rationality to specifically disclude an opponent's methods (as objectivists do) or by making rationality so diffuse that all the users methods are included (much the same way new-agers use the term "energy". Actual human rationality consists of MANY methods besides logic, notably informal fallacies and heuristic reasoning.) [more...]
Natural Law or Don't Put a Rubber on Your Willy
_placeholder_ [more...]
Informal Logic: A Pragmatic Approach
_placeholder_ [more...]
The Right to Private Property
_placeholder_ [more...]
Behavioral Law and Economics
_placeholder_ [more...]
Contemporary Ethics: Taking Account of Utilitarianism
_placeholder_ [more...]
Addiction by Design: Machine Gambling in Las Vegas
_placeholder_ [more...]
Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few
_placeholder_ [more...]
Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk
_placeholder_ [more...]
Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President
_placeholder_ [more...]
Property in Land and Other Resources
_placeholder_ [more...]
Poison Tea: How Big Oil and Big Tobacco Invented the Tea Party and Captured the GOP
_placeholder_ [more...]
Propaganda & Persuasion
_placeholder_ [more...]
How Do You Know?: The Economics of Ordinary Knowledge
_placeholder_ [more...]
The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy
_placeholder_ [more...]
All Marketers are Liars: The Underground Classic That Explains How Marketing Really Works--and Why Authenticity Is the Best Marketing of All
_placeholder_ [more...]
Putin's Kleptocracy: Who Owns Russia?
_placeholder_ [more...]
Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective
_placeholder_ [more...]
Public Revenue without Taxation
_placeholder_ [more...]
Rigged: How Globalization and the Rules of the Modern Economy Were Structured to Make the Rich Richer
_placeholder_ [more...]
Inequality: What Can Be Done?
_placeholder_ [more...]
Education and the Commercial Mindset
_placeholder_ [more...]
Socialism (propaganda)
The great bugaboo of Capitalism because it threatens the wealth of the very rich. But a normal part of every nation's Mixed Economy: law, rights, property, police, defense, roads and other infrastructure are all socialistically produced. Capitalists view any social ownership as an opportunity for their own private ownership, and thus denounce socialism. [more...]
The thousands of U.S. locales where lead poisoning is worse than in Flint [More...]
"A Reuters examination of lead testing results across the country found almost 3,000 areas with poisoning rates far higher than in the tainted Michigan city. Yet many of these lead hotspots are receiving little attention or funding." [more...]
The Hidden Monopolies That Raise Drug Prices: How pharmacy benefit managers morphed from processors to predators [More...]
"If you have drug coverage as part of your health plan, you are likely to carry a card with the name of a PBM on it. These middlemen manage prescription drug benefits for health plans, contracting with drug manufacturers and pharmacies in a multi-sided market. Over the past 30 years, PBMs have evolved from paper-pushers to significant controllers of the drug pricing system, a black box understood by almost no one. Lack of transparency, unjustifiable fees, and massive market consolidations have made PBMs among the most profitable corporations you’ve never heard about." [more...]
Pharmacy Benefit Managers
Middlemen who manage prescription drug benefits for health plans. They are unregulated and oligopolistic, taking a very large cut of revenue from pharmacies and customers. Because their methods are not transparent, drug companies, insurance companies and pharmacies don't even know how much they are paying these middle men. [more...]
Facts About Fees [More...]
"Hidden credit card and debit card swipe fees inflate the cost of nearly everything consumers buy, even when they pay cash. Consumers pay hundreds of dollars every year in hidden fees just for the "right" to swipe their cards. That money -- about $50 billion every year -- goes directly to banks and credit card companies and is more than twice what was paid in credit card late fees and three times ATM fees." [more...]
Credit Cards
Credit cards assess a hidden tax called the Interchange Fee. It is the money withheld from the merchant by banks and credit card companies to pay for the privilege of using a credit card in the transaction. This tax also frequently falls on cash customers, because credit card contracts with merchants generally provide that merchants cannot reveal the tax with a surcharge for using a credit card. Merchants can offer cash discounts, but most do not, charging the same prices, and so cash customers subsidize credit card fees. This is VERY big business, due to oligopoly in the industry. [more...]
Private Taxation
Markets also produce their own forms of taxation. Credit cards, prescription drug purchasers and many others have hidden fees for third parties that operate just like taxes in creating deadweight losses. Government taxes are spent for public benefit offsetting deadweight losses, but private profit from hidden private taxes doesn't. [more...]
Economic Liberty (propaganda)
Another glittering generality that sounds good until you realize that it allows the requirements for well-functioning markets to be undermined by monopoly, bad information and other failures. See: Globalization, Free Trade and Economic Freedom [more...]
Economic Freedom (propaganda)
Libertarian ideas of economic freedom are like freedom to sail your yacht where ever you like, even if your wake swamps other boats. Great if you have a yacht! But not valuable to everybody, and sometimes harmful. See: Globalization, Free Trade and Economic Freedom. [more...]
Propaganda techniques [More...]
The Wikipedia list of techniques. You'll have encountered most of them in libertarian videos, readings, etc. [more...]
Monopolies Are Worse Than We Thought [More...]
Market concentration increases prices, limits market size, and makes the economy less efficient. And new evidence indicates that it hurts workers and increases inequality. [more...]
Milton Friedman on Illegal Immigration [More...]
Milton Friedman makes a number of erroneous claims about immigration. [more...]
Tax Aversion and the Legacy of Slavery [More...]
"Instead of reflecting a heritage that valued liberty over all other concerns, they [antitax and antigovernment attitudes] are part of the poisonous legacy we have inherited from the slaveholders who forged much of our political tradition." A precis of Robin Einhorn's American Taxation, American Slavery. [more...]
Catotonic History
Cato's Letters, among other non-libertarian things, rail against the undue influence on government of very rich men, such as the Koch brothers who effectively control the Cato Institute and innumerable other think tanks and lobbying organizations. [more...]
The Authors of Cato's Letters, Thomas Gordon and John Trenchard
Cato's Letters, like most political economy writings of their era, were distinctly NOT libertarian in many specifics. Like Adam Smith, the authors Thomas Gordon and John Trenchard]] condemned corporations, tax evasion by the rich and the rich corrupting government, while supporting infrastructure investment, restricting imports and restricting immigration. Yet the Cato Institute has selected them for their namesake. [more...]
The Handmaiden of Entrepreneurship: Philosophy in the time of Charles Koch [More...]
David Johnson reviews a Koch-funded textbook for high school students, Ethics, Economy & Entrepreneurship for a course called "Philosophy 101: Ethics, Economy, and Entrepreneurship". "What I found was a peculiar mixture of the utterly banal and the frighteningly ideological." [more...]
Capsule summary of Economics in One Lesson [More...]
"Hazlitt's "Economics in One Lesson," has almost nothing to do with economics, the study of how to efficiently allocate scarce resources. It's basically a kid's book for indoctrination into libertaryanism." [more...]
Dismantling Public Education: Turning Ideology into Gold [More...]
"Nowhere is the toxic effect of privatization on America’s public wellbeing more evident than in the sphere of education." How, through lengthy propaganda, public education is being transformed into a cash cow for the wealthy. [more...]
Think Tank Watch [More...]
Documents some of the global free-market think tank movement. Excellent links to resources. [more...]
Rachel Carson, Mass Murderer? The creation of an anti-environmental myth. [More...]
'Still, AFM has very much followed the plan Bate laid out in his original funding pitch to corporations: First, create “the intellectual arguments to make our case,” then “disseminate these arguments to people in [developing countries]” who can make convincing spokespeople, and then “promote these arguments . . . in the West.”' [more...]
Little Nemo in Slumberland: The Voyage to Mars [More...]
Mars is entirely the property of plutocrat B. Gosh, including the air, sunlight and even words. Widely considered to most amazing artistry ever in comics. The Mars visit extends from 4/24/1910 to 8/14/1910. [more...]
Foucault in cyberspace -- Chapter 2: Libertarianism, Property and Harm [More...]
(Starts on page 11.) Law Professor James Boyle points out that libertarianism fails to justify which rights we should have in three ways: common law, natural rights and Property. "When the vague first principles turn more specific, then the fun really begins." [more...]
People Actually Use Food Stamps to Buy More Food [More...]
This defies the standard rational economic model's "fungibility of targeted benefits", which treats all income as shiftable to other purposes. "Putting all your income into a single pile, and then spending out of that pile, is the rational thing to do. But it turns out that most human beings aren’t rational -- at least, not in this regard." [more...]
Libertarians are neither right wing nor left wing.
Libertarians are simply pragmatic conservatives who have a moral focus on non-interference by the government, according to George Lakoff. That makes them solid right wingers. [more...]
John Kenneth Galbraith on Conservatism. [More...]
"The modern conservative is not even especially modern. He is engaged, on the contrary, in one of man’s oldest, best financed, most applauded, and, on the whole, least successful exercises in moral philosophy. That is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness..." [more...]
Corporate Destruction of Free Markets Rules Us [More...]
"Corporatism makes massive exceptions that rig markets and tilt the seller-buyer balance heavily in favor of the former who become bigger and bigger global corporations." Several good points about how corporatists have rigged markets so they do not fit the free market model. [more...]
Theory vs. Reality: Why Market Absolutism Fails [More...]
Lists six basic assumptions of Free Market Theory that simply do not hold in the real world, actually existing market system. [more...]
Free Market Fantasies: Capitalism in the Real World [More...]
"For those who are interested in the real world, a look at the actual history suggests some adjustment -- a modification of free market theory, to what we might call “really existing free market theory.” That is, the one that’s actually applied, not talked about." [more...]
Fallacies of Free Markets [More...]
"Perfect competition is the ideal state in classical and neoclassical economics, and functions properly only when held to certain assumptions." [more...]
Does free market theory support free markets? [More...]
"Free market theory demonstrates that in a free market economy, economic agents should adopt monopolistic and manipulative strategies that go against global economic efficiency. This is the part of free market theory that has empirical support." [more...]
Economics in Two Lessons [More...]
John Quiggans' draft response (in progress) to Henry Hazlitt's 'Economics in One Lesson'. The second lesson is: Market prices don’t reflect all the opportunity costs we face as a society. [more...]
The Real "Takers" in America: The Unproductive, Rent-Extracting Rich [More...]
"To counter the domination of America’s rentier oligarchs, we need an Anti-Rentier campaign that would unite unlikely groups: owners of productive businesses as well as workers, populist conservatives and liberal reformers." [more...]
Education and the Commercial Mindset (Review by Thomas Ultican) [More...]
"Abrams documents the triumphs and failures of profit based education[...] Abrams presents convincing arguments that KIPP and other no-excuses charter systems cannot possibly be scaled up to educate all American children. These systems have a history of burning out teachers and they rely on public schools to take in the children they expel or council out." [more...]
Propaganda Games: Sesame Credit -- The True Danger of Gamification [More...]
"China has gamified being an obedient citizen with the creation of Sesame Credit. It creates a social score that pushes people to behave the way the government wants. Though currently opt-in, it will become mandatory in 2020." Horrible, squeaky YouTube video with very good explanation. [more...]
China’s New Tool for Social Control: A Credit Rating for Everything [More...]
"Beijing wants to give every citizen a score based on behavior such as spending habits, turnstile violations and filial piety, which can blacklist citizens from loans, jobs, air travel." [more...]
Algorithmic Prison
The algorithmic prison idea is that big data allows business and government to deny us loans, jobs, right to travel, etc. without our knowing why or being able to contest and change the data. This also makes us very vulnerable to dirty tricks. [more...]
Regional Policy and Distributional Policy in a World Where People Want to Ignore the Value and Contribution of Knowledge and Network-Based Increasing Returns [More...]
In a world of mammoth increasing returns to unowned knowledge and to networks, no individual and no community is especially valuable. Those who receive good livings are lucky, and the illusion of desert is punctured by any recognition that there is a large societal dividend to be distributed. This is the dismal science at its best and most dismal. [more...]
Social Capital
"Social capital is a form of economic and cultural capital in which social networks are central, transactions are marked by reciprocity, trust, and cooperation, and market agents produce goods and services not mainly for themselves, but for a common good." (Wikipedia) The answer to Margaret Thatcher's rhetorical "There's no such thing as society… only individuals and families." [more...]
Economic Anthropology: David Graeber Meets the Noise Machine... [More...]
…and is annoyed at having his summary of anthropological findings dismissed as "nonsensical" [more...]
Are Capitalism, Libertarianism, and Objectivism Religions?
"Dr Albert Ellis debunks Ayn Rand, Greenspan, the Wall Street Journal, Libertarians, Objectivists and other capitalist fanatics. He points out the psychological dangers of following these beliefs as well as the absurdities in their assertions." [more...]
On the Relevance of Hayek and Bastiat [More...]
Hayek's essay "would have been greatly strengthened if he’d acknowledged the limits of markets in coordinating dispersed knowledge". "Bastiat is right within the confines of his own examples, but really the real world throws up so many confounding factors that there is no need to invoke him in contemporary debate." [more...]
Where I Learned All About Austrian Economics [More...]
"Austrian economists reject empirical analysis, and instead believe that you can reach conclusions about correct economic policies from a priori principles. It's philosophy dressed up as economics." [more...]
He Did it Without Help...Except for all the Help He Got [More...]
Yet another false claim debunked (from Marion Noronha of Turbocam) that he did it all by himself. [more...]
Economics 101, Economism, and Our New Gilded Age
"This conviction that the world must behave the way it does on the blackboard is what I call economism. This style of thinking is influential because it is clear and logical, reducing complex issues to simple, pseudo-mathematical axioms. But it is not simply an innocent mistake made by inattentive undergraduates. Economism is Economics 101 transformed into an ideology—an ideology that is particularly persuasive because it poses as a neutral means of understanding the world." [more...]
Sweden’s School Choice Disaster [More...]
"Advocates for school choice might be shocked to see how badly the country’s experiment with vouchers failed." Provides a balanced look at international performance of Charter Schools and public schools. [more...]
U.S. Companies Were Hurt by Trade With China Too [More...]
Free Trade with China, often assumed to be beneficial, as been shown to leave deep and lasting scars on huge swathes of the American workforce, increase political polarization, and decrease U.S. corporate innovation. [more...]
What's wrong with libertarianism (Rosenfelder) [More...]
Libertarianism is the un-Communism, prefer fact-free arguments, want full scale implementation rather than small-scale tests, worship the founding fathers in silly ways, support Republican party policies, misunderstand social liberty, ignore history, have a single-villain ideology, ignore market abuses, and have an unacceptable morality. [more...]
The “Common Law Property” Myth in the Libertarian Critique of IP Rights (Part 2) [More...]
"[T]his is not just a historical myth about the source of property rights in land, which were created by both statutes and court decisions, but it’s also an historical myth about IP rights, which are also created by both statutes and court decisions." [more...]
The “Common Law Property” Myth in the Libertarian Critique of IP Rights (Part 1) [More...]
"It’s a complete myth for libertarians to argue that IP rights are “different” from property rights in land because property rights in land developed in “common law” as opposed to “statutory” IP rights." [more...]
The Connection Between Work and Dignity [More...]
An efficient economy leaves unemployment high: some inefficient but useful jobs can alleviate unemployment and create dignity for the workers. "If we work hard and produce something of tangible value, we tend to feel a sense of self-worth when society rewards us for it with a decent, middle-class life." [more...]
The Power and Poverty of Libertarian Thought [More...]
A celebration of the fall of communism as somehow a vindication of libertarianism, but also some good criticisms of libertarian failings. Especially with regard to organization of capital enterprises. [more...]
Violence, Property, Theft, and Entitlement [More...]
Libertarians do not actually care about force or coercion, but instead have strange ideas about entitlement (and then are happy to use force or coercion to protect their entitlement.) [more...]
A long-supplanted philosophical methodology that is preoccupied with "true" definitions of words, a priori knowledge, logic, deduction, system, and its literary form of syllogistic argumentation. Apriorism and avoidance of empiricism are characteristic. [more...]
Domain-specific reasoning: Social contracts, cheating, and perspective change [More...]
Humans do not reason with content-independent logic. Experimental evidence that human reasoning processes are domain specific. [more...]
Social Contract Theory (Cognitive Psychology)
A modular and evolutionary view of human reasoning. "Modular" means that the theory explains performance in one specific content domain: social contracts (any social exchange.) Explains our apparent cheater detection algorithms. Not related to philosophical ideas of Social Contract. [more...]
Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
_placeholder_ [more...]
Thinking and Deciding
_placeholder_ [more...]
The Prevalence of Humbug and Other Essays
_placeholder_ [more...]
The Libertarian Attack Against Liberty: Fake Patriots and False Gods
_placeholder_ [more...]
Economics: The User's Guide
_placeholder_ [more...]
The Educator And The Oligarch: A Teacher Challenges The Gates Foundation
_placeholder_ [more...]
The Philosophy of John Stuart Mill: Ethical, Political and Religious
_placeholder_ [more...]
Whither Opportunity?: Rising Inequality, Schools, and Children's Life Chances
_placeholder_ [more...]
Profit and Gift in the Digital Economy
_placeholder_ [more...]
Property and Contract in Economics: The Case for Economic Democracy
_placeholder_ [more...]
Principles For A Free Society: Reconciling Individual Liberty With The Common Good
_placeholder_ [more...]
The Moral Ecology of Markets: Assessing Claims about Markets and Justice
_placeholder_ [more...]
Heuristics: The Foundations of Adaptive Behavior
_placeholder_ [more...]
Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them
_placeholder_ [more...]
Uncivil Liberties: Deconstructing Libertarianism
_placeholder_ [more...]
Economic Fundamentalism: A World Model For Structural Adjustment
_placeholder_ [more...]
Economism: Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality
"This conviction that the world must behave the way it does on the blackboard is what I call economism. This style of thinking is influential because it is clear and logical, reducing complex issues to simple, pseudo-mathematical axioms. But it is not simply an innocent mistake made by inattentive undergraduates. Economism is Economics 101 transformed into an ideology—an ideology that is particularly persuasive because it poses as a neutral means of understanding the world." [more...]
Who Cooked Adam Smith's Dinner?: A Story of Women and Economics
_placeholder_ [more...]