“There is no way to give a politician power that can be used only to do good.” – p17
This guide to anarcho-capitalism turned out to be less definitive...more“There is no way to give a politician power that can be used only to do good.” – p17
This guide to anarcho-capitalism turned out to be less definitive than I had hoped. The book is filled with truths derived from libertarian thought and pro-capitalist economics though with regard to a few issues, most noteably the core issue of property rights, the defense is not so much a proof as it is a best-case scenario. For example, how private property rights over natural resources (ie. land) are initially allocated is not straightforward (and can't really be derived from some a priori theory of natural rights) but since we know that allocating them has overwhelmingly positive results, we need not be overly concerned. (p171) Furthermore, with regard to foreign policy, interventionism vs. non-interventionism is revealed a lose-lose choice since interventionism entails allying with bad governments and thus aiding them in the opression of their people and non-interventionism involves nuclear weapons which indiscriminately kill the innocent along with the guilty. (p209) Nevertheless, the book is well written and filled with thought provoking arguments and novel ideas for moving towards an anarcho-capitalist society. However, after reading this book, I am more convinced that, in the end, anarcho-capitalism is impractical and that limited government is the way to go.
Another revelation I had from this book is that while I had always thought of the welfare state and government intervention in general as being detrimental to the rich and beneficial to the poor, it is more likely that it is detrimental to both but, on balance, more detrimental to the poor. The broad argument is that the government is controlled by the special interest groups that have the most money and since the ones that have the most money are funded by the wealthy, it is unlikely that they would be willing to just allow themselves to be screwed over for the benefit of the poor. Some quick examples of how the poor get screwed over by the government : 1) inflation – this hurts everbody but since the poor are already scraping it, they can scarcely afford higher prices, whereas the quality of life of the rich is hardly affected 2) farm subsidies – cause higher food prices which have the effect of a regressive tax, since the poor spend a larger proportion of their income on food 3) state universities subsidize the schooling of the upper classses with money much of which comes from the relatively poor taxpayers 4) social security – the poor tend to start paying into the system earlier and have lower life expectancies so many times they die before ever collecting – additionally, they pay a greater proportion of their incomes into social security. “This is not to deny that poor people get some benefit from some government programs.” But on net, nearly everyone loses. Other topics covered include :
- Arguments against government enforced monopolies such as medical licensing. p43
- Medicare – p51
- Education – p55-68
- Immigration – Let’s have open immigration, but “new immigrants should face a fifteen year residency requirement before they become eligible for welfare.” – p69 (less)