Monday, November 24, 2008

Wisdom from the Gossip Crowd

Last week, Dan Klein had met with a group of students on a draft of his recent paper. During the discussion he had raised a question that all students with the love for liberty usually ask themselves , "How come I get it? How come all these other people I know get it, but the everyday citizen does not get it?" The "it" being government intervention within our personal lives being more harmful and not as efficient as the market.

Those in the room shared his agony with the question and for me coincided with the question, "Why does the battered wife not leave her beating husband?"

The solution was simple when I sat around a table with my cousins and my wife and heard a discussion of a guy who felt he owned the world going out with other girls and yet his girlfriend stays by him. When the remark was made that his girlfriend was stupid for staying by him, I heard the words that made me understand why people still don't get "it". "She believes she can change him."

That was it; so simple and yet so profound. Most people believe that the government has problems, they will agree on this and will even have claims to back up this argument. Yet when push comes to shove, they side with government leaving all the liberty minded individuals to ask why. So why is it they stick by the government who never keeps their promise; they believe that they can change it. Perhaps they don't trust the market because they don't feel that they can impact the market in any form compared to the measure of impact they can have within government.
What do you think? Or should we commend such a spirit of hope?

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Need for Government or Anarchy?

Mises and Friedman are in agreement "The consistent liberal is not an anarchist."
To Mises and Friedman it is a rather simple argument: How do you enforce your rules upon society to protect your property, your life, and your liberty without a government?
Mises' explained the need for government with ease:
"Life in society would be quite impossible if the people who desire its continued existence and who conduct themselves accordingly had to forgo the use of force and compulsion against those who are prepared to undermine society by their behavior. A small number of antisocial individuals, i.e., persons who are not willing or able to make the temporary sacrifices that society demands of them, could make all society impossible. Without the application of compulsion and coercion against the enemies of society, there could not be any life in society.
We call the social apparatus of compulsion and coercion that induces people to abide by the rules of life in society, the state; the rules according to which the state proceeds, law; and the organs charged with the responsibility of administering the apparatus of compulsion, government."
Their main questions is, what are the chances of everyone agreeing upon the said terms in a voluntary society with no government? What guarantees are in place to make sure that later generations do not choose against those very terms?

As much as they opposed government with the notion the market is more proficient than the government in most tasks, both intellectual greats, Mises & Friedman, conclude that life could not function without some sort of coercion, albeit a constrained coercion.

Is the market a better enforcer than the government? Can we not apply the same questions they had asked about life without a government to life with a government? What guarantees individuals agree to the terms? Let us take in mind that the market is not capable of extending its might through coercive social programs such as the government.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Moral Man in an Immoral World

Mises had written, "There is a world of difference between a man who risks his life and property for a good cause and the man who sacrifices them without benefitting society in any way."

Now which should we believe that politicians fall under?
Which should economists fall under?

Mises picks up again with, "Everything that serves to preserve the social order is moral; everything that is detrimental to it is immoral."

Would most citizens view austrian economists as the first or the latter off of this statement?
and government?

Is then perception reality or just a faux pas?