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The Market for Liberty

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  286 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Some great books are the product of a lifetime of research, reflection, and labored discipline. But other classics are written in a white heat during the moment of discovery, with prose that shines forth like the sun pouring into the window of a time when a new understanding brings in the world into focus for the first time.

The Market for Liberty is that second type of

Paperback, 169 pages
Published October 1st 1993 by Fox & Wilkes (first published 1970)
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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  286 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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Jeff M
Jan 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Like most people, I could not justify any sort of anarchist system. Like most people I never fully explored the idea or tried to debate the merits of an anarcho-capitalist system... I just accepted that the idea was irrational.

When I picked up this book I was expecting the typical "constitutional conservative" rhetoric. When the book made it clear that the authors advocated absolutely no government I figured I would continue reading just out of curiosity but figured I'd find some fatal flaw at
May 29, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Seekers of truth
This is a through-and-through libertarian book. My inclination is to give this kind of book high marks because I completely agree with the sentiments contained therein. I only gave it two stars, however, because of the inflammatory language, philosophical inconsistencies, and Malthusian viewpoint. This book (written in 1970) is like listening to talk radio. You can only enjoy it if you already agree with what is being said, and are willing to overlook illogical and inflammatory language. That ...more
May 18, 2009 rated it it was ok
Where exactly do I want to begin? Well, essentially, the issue I had with giving the rating for this book wasn't if I agreed or disagreed with its premise (I don't for anyone who cares), but if I found the thesis complete, well thought out, and it's arguments well developed. It's not, and they aren't, respectively.

While the overall ideal that the manifesto tried to suede the reader to is compelling, it is an ideal, not a reality. Essentially, and accurately, the Tannehils are trying to sell
Jan 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: economic-liberty
This is my first one and half star review. Usually if I think this little of a book, I just delete it from my Kindle and never even bother to review. I plowed through because I am fond of the subject. As a disclaimer; I think of myself as Capitalist first, Patriot second, and Anarchist third. This book tries to sell to those ideals, but it misses horribly.

This reads like a poor CliffNote mash-up of Murray Rothbard and Ayn Rand. I had an inkling of trouble in the first chapter when the authors
Daniel Moss
I like the more praxeological approach of "Spontaneous Order" for it's scientific approach but this book's philosophical approach uses some potent and colorful words.
Sean Rosenthal
Interesting Quotes:

"A laissez-faire society is not a Utopia in which the initiation of violence is impossible. Rather, it is a society which does not *institutionalize* the initiation of force and in which there are means for dealing with aggression justly when it does occur.

-Linda & Morris Tannehill, The Market for Liberty

"Not only does government regulation prevent enterprising individuals from going into business for themselves, it also helps freeze many employees into an 8-to-5 grind
Balint Erdi
The book explains why government is immoral and unnecessary and how a free society would function without it in different areas, especially focusing on those where most people considers it necessary (even if a necessary evil). It does this in a passionate way and my feeling is that it can win over minds that are open to being persuaded and lean towards liberty as a value.

I couldn't help but make the comparison with David Friedman's Machinery of Freedom, the book that won me over to "the cause".
Stefan Matias
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
In The Market for Liberty, Morris and Linda Tannehill appears to follow the ethical framework of Ayn Rand but to be more Rothbardian when it comes to politics. They critique Rand's argument against Anarchism and show that it may actually be a strong argument against the State. Furthermore, they go through numerous reasons for why the State is a highly inadequate and actually dangerous institution for society and illustrate how several functions could work just fine, if not better, without State ...more
Aug 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Though I am far from an anrchist, I am drawn to the ideas of economic liberty as a remedy to our largely unnecessary and gluttonous modern government. From socialist nations to our own crony capitalist nation, there is no doubt that the larger the government the fewer the freedoms of its people, and the fewer freedoms the larger the chances of poverty and oppression. This book nails this. It goes too far for my taste in the anarchist camp - much too far - but my minarchist sensibilities enjoyed ...more
Hayden Burgess
Oct 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In the beginning of The Market for Liberty, I enjoyed reading the Anarcho-Capitalist response to the ethical criticisms that fall upon capitalism in its purest form in a philosophical manner. The book also cleared up some of the questions I have had about how such a society the Tannehills proposed.

Great read for those new to libertarian thought 9/10
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebook, owned
I'm all for limiting government, but this author approaches the virtues of laissez faire society almost as a religion. Many of the concepts he proposes are nothing less than naive.
Nina Kennett
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anarcocapitalism
Great book. But damn, I get it, you guys are atheists. Which I'm perfectly fine with. But the little jabs at religion? Made the authors sound arrogant.
Dec 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Doug Casey for recommending this.
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
It could work...
May 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I had conflicting feelings about this book during my reading. It provides a framework for how society may function in the absence of government, which they describe as a laissez faire society. The concepts are not challenging for one who has already taken the time to consider how elements of society would function. There were some new ideas for me - specifically with regard to the role of insurance and private defense forces. They also venture into the hard-to-conceive realm of how society might ...more
Jan 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 19, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally I was going to rate this four stars for the sheer fact that it went into Randian ethics and the fact that it's speculation as to how an anarcho-capitalist society MIGHT work. However, reading it, I was very satisfied at the end. It provides some interesting alternative explanations than many other anarcho-capitalist books. The most interesting, and possibly my favorite, is how we would deal with getting rid of public property. Instead of leaving it up for all the rich and ...more
Dave Burns
Apr 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Wikipedia has links to online text and audio versions. I read this so long ago, but it did make an impression on me then. Basically, the state gets replaced by a hyper developed insurance industry. It's not obviously impossible, but not obviously practical, either. I think I had not read enough Hayek before reading this, so I didn't know he would probably compare it to the "constructivist rationalism" he criticized among the socialist thinkers of his time. I think the book predates Friedman's ...more
Jaroslav Tuček
Dec 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Government, the unnecessary evil.

Based on Rand's ethics, while rejecting her politics, Tannehills paint a picture of a pure laissez-faire society. Piece by piece, they shows how government functions can be supplied by the free market - without any of the inefficiencies and injustices of imposed regulation. The chapter on how free markets cope with the free-rider problem by including insurance costs in broad prices is particularly insightful, and the book worth reading for it alone.

A concise,
Oct 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: finance
The Market for Liberty focuses on a laissez-faire society. The authors view government as an unnecessary evil, a coercive monopoly, that only reduces the quality of life for everyone. It reduces quality by misallocating resources. A free market society would be based on property rights and objective/natural law. This law is primarily the idea of not applying aggression to others.
Overall, an interesting read that makes you think and reevaluate our current governmental system.
Apr 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: not-at-library
This book laid out a very convincing case that a voluntary society could be possible.
Mateusz Zań
Aug 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Ludzie wolni, sami regulują rynek dostosowując się do zasady moralnej: Nie czyń drugiemu co Tobie nie miłe.
Jan 06, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite in the genre of libertarian primers, strong on principle while sold on practical application as well.
Jun 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-read-2009
This book is kind of interesting. It does do a good job in pointing out failures of government and offering alternatives.
Craig Bolton
Market for Liberty by Morris Tannehill (1993)
Damian Potrykus
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Jun 22, 2015
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“Not only is democracy mystical nonsense, it is also immoral. If one man has no right to impose his wishes on another, then ten million men have no right to impose their wishes on the one, since the initiation of force is wrong (and the assent of even the most overwhelming majority can never make it morally permissible). Opinions—even majority opinions—neither create truth nor alter facts. A lynch mob is democracy in action. So much for mob rule.” 11 likes
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