In Defense of Sweatshops and Child Labor: A Response to the “Sweat Free” Activists

Wage > Slavery

Wage > Slavery

 

Critics of sweatshop labor often accuse sweatshops of providing inhumane conditions and inadequate pay to the workers. Anti-sweatshop activists take several different modes of action in order to try and end sweatshop labor practices. Boycotts, petitioning for legislation, and buying “fair-trade” products are the typical paths that these activists pursue.

To be concerned with what the real world effects of any policy will be rather than just the intention behind it is crucial to accurate appraisal of policy. Indeed, when Henry Hazlitt condensed all of economics into a single lesson, it was that “the art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.”(1) It is this type of analysis that leads me to type the following. The anti-sweatshop movement has done more harm than good and has harmed the very people that it claims to try and help. Examining the theory and real world results enables an understanding as to why this is the case.

When a person voluntarily chooses to work in a sweatshop, it is because that person views that option as their best choice among alternatives. This is a truth known a priori, and it is based on the fact that they chose to do so. This a priori theory is confirmed with empirical data from real world analysis. Oxford University published economist Benjamin Powell’s book, Out of Poverty: Sweatshops in the Global Economy, last month. Dr. Powell devoted an entire chapter to the alternative jobs that sweatshop workers would have if they lost their jobs in the sweatshops. He found that “in countries where sweatshops tend to be located large portions of the population work in agriculture.”(2) Furthermore, these agricultural workers tend to be subsistence farmers. In the poorest of these countries, other alternatives include prostitution and sifting through garbage dumps. How do these alternatives compare to sweatshop labor? In Bangladesh, over 80% of the population live with a daily income under $2 a day. In India, it’s 60% of the population. For China, just over half the population earns under $2 a day. The average daily income of a sweatshop worker in Bangladesh is just over $2. For the Chinese sweatshop worker, it’s over $4 a day. The average Indian sweatshop worker earns $8 a day.(3) There’s a reason that people choose to work in sweat shops. As Paul Krugman noted in his article, aptly titled “In Praise of Cheap Labor: Bad Jobs at Bad Wages Are Better than No Jobs at All,” “while wages and working conditions in the new export industries of the Third World are appalling, they are a big improvement over the previous, less visible rural poverty.”(4) These countries are countries with little capital. Thus, these countries are countries with little productivity. Wages rise as productivity rises. But the productivity must rise first.

The relationship between productivity and pay has been demonstrated countless times. But let’s look at the productivity of sweatshop labor and the productivity of subsistence farming. In Bangladesh, agriculture only accounts for 23% of the GDP, even though 58% of Bangladeshis are employed in agriculture. In China, almost half the population is employed in agriculture, yet agriculture only accounts for around 13% of the GDP.(5) There is a reason why sweatshop labor gets paid, on average, higher than the alternatives. Sweatshops are more productive and employ more capital than the agricultural alternatives. As more people invest in these companies, wages will rise. However, legally raising the wages of these workers higher than the value they produce will not result in higher productivity. It will result in unemployment. Productivity must rise before wages rise. Wages respond to productivity but productivity does not respond to artificially mandated wages.

It’s not just the pay that anti-sweatshop activists protest. They also protest working conditions, building codes, and safety standards. Powell also devoted an entire chapter to the consequences of legally mandating that sweatshops follow certain safety standards. He argued that “firms are indifferent about whether to pay monetary wages or in-kind benefits after adjusting for those benefits that improve productivity. Workers do care about the mix.”(6) He also argued that

when overall compensation goes up, workers are more likely to desire more nonmonetary benefits. Comfort and safety are what economists call “normal goods” for most people. Workers demand more of these goods as their income increases. Unfortunately, many workers have low productivity, so their overall compensation is level is low. As such, they demand most of their compensation in wages and little in health or safety improvements.(7)

This makes sense, seeing as the law of diminishing marginal utility states that the previous unit of consumption of a good or service yields more utility than the following unit of that same good. In other words, sweatshop workers prefer direct pay over health and safety improvements because they have such little wealth that their other needs take precedent over workplace safety. A law that directly raises the workplace safety of sweatshop workers, but indirectly reduces their pay, comes at the opportunity cost of the preferred purchases of the sweatshop workers (purchases like food and shelter).

Now that the fundamentals have been covered, let’s look at the real world consequences of anti-sweatshop activism. First let’s look at the forsaking of sweatshop goods for products labeled as fair trade. The “Shop with a Conscience Consumer Guide” lists forty-one different factories that produce products deemed “sweat free.” This guide states that “these sweat-free sources are either unionized or run as worker cooperatives, have healthy and safe working conditions, offer wages and benefits that will ‘lift workers’ families out of poverty,’ and treat the workers with ‘respect, dignity, and justice.’”(8) However,

Twenty-nine of these factories are located in the United States and Canada; only eleven are located in Latin and South America; and a single factory is in Asia. Although consumers might feel they are ‘shopping with a conscience,’ they are mostly buying products made by wealthy First World union workers, decreasing the demand for products made in poorer countries and harming the employment prospects of the poorer Third World workers.(9)

By abandoning sweatshop goods for “sweat free” goods, the buyer actually benefits the wealthier First World workers at the expense of the poorer Third World workers. This product swap effectively puts the sweatshop worker in a worse position.

Public pressure is another tool that anti-sweatshop activists use to try and help the sweatshop workers. Just like the boycott, this tool also backfires. In 2003, for example, public pressure led the Yupoong owned BJ&B factory into an agreement that gave “workers a 10 percent wage increase, educational scholarships, paid holidays, and the establishment of a workers’ committee to deal with health and safety concerns at the factory.”(10) The anti-sweatshop activists praised this moment as a victory against the war on sweatshops. Public pressure kept the sweatshop from going back on this deal, even as the factory lost profit. By 2007, the BJ&B labor pool had shrunk from 2,000 workers to just 234. Later that year, the factory shut down.(11) 2,000 workers were thrown into their less desirable alternatives due to activism. Today, that factory is operated under The Altagracia Project, which “was set up to operate as a model factory, showcasing that a factory could pay a living wage, respect workers’ rights to join a union, and at the same time turn a profit.”(12) This project is praised as one of the latest successes of the anti-sweatshop activists. However, this project employs only 120 people. It baffles my mind how anyone could think that this movement (which cost 2,000 people the best job they could get and then reemployed only 6% of them) can be thought of anything other than a disaster.

The last, and perhaps most dangerous, tool at the anti-sweatshop movement’s disposal is government regulation. For example, “in 1993, U.S. Senator Tom Harkin introduced the Child Labor Deterrence Act, which would have banned imports from countries employing children.”(13) This promptly led to Bangladeshi garment companies firing “50,000 children that fall.”(14) At first, this might seem like another victory for the anti-sweatshop movement. However, children choose to work in sweat shops for the same reason that adults do. It is their best choice among alternatives. It is dangerous to assume that alternatives for children in these countries include things such as schooling and leisure time. Subsistence farming is one of the best case scenarios for the children who are banned from working in factories in these countries. Let’s look at what happened to the 50,000 children who lost their jobs. According to Paul Krugman, “the direct result was that Bangladeshi textile factories stopped employing children. But did the children go back to school? Did they return to happy homes? Not according to Oxfam, which found that the displaced child workers ended up in even worse jobs, or on the streets – and that a significant number were forced into prostitution [emphasis mine].”(15) It would be irresponsible for me to say that anti-sweatshop activists advocate increased child prostitution. However, I have no issues with pointing out that many of these activists advocate policies that would lead to such an increase. To paraphrase Murray Rothbard, it is totally reckless to have loud and vocal opinions on economic affairs without understanding the economic consequences of such opinions.

If we really want to help sweatshop laborers get out of sweatshop labor and into better situations, we need to increase their alternatives and not take away what they have chosen among their current alternatives. As such, I propose starting a pro-sweatshop worker movement. Historically speaking, almost every modernized country had a period of development in which the population switched from agriculture to sweatshop factory work. This transition is necessary to build the capital that can increase productivity. After all, “economists have found that approximately 70-80 percent in the variation in wages across nations can be attributed to differences in productivity.”(16) Therefore, this pro-sweatshop worker movement should focus on raising the productivity of the sweatshop workers. It can do this by encouraging governments to repeal restrictions to trade and foreign markets, especially in those countries where sweatshop labor is prevalent. This movement should also put public pressure on sweatshop countries to adopt sound monetary policy and protect private property rights. Money goes to where it is welcome. By following these freed market policies, investment becomes more appealing and capital will be able to accumulate. This, of course, will increase worker productivity. One only needs to look at the success stories of Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea to see that this is the case. In these countries, “the process of moving from sweatshops to a wealthy First World nation took less than two generations rather than the more than 100 years in Great Britain and the United States.”(17)

For the sake of these workers, do not support anti-sweatshop measures that only limit these workers abilities or price them out of the market. Support policies that will speed up the process of development and give these workers more alternatives rather than less.

 

(If you would like to learn more about well-intentioned policies that hurt the people they try to help, read my debate with Tom Engelhart on the Minimum Wage. http://www.breakingapathy.com/category/call-response-an-informed-debate/)

— Will Shanahan (@Will_Shanahan)

Contributing Editor, the Humane Condition

Notes:

1. Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson (Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2008) 5.

2. Benjamin Powell, Out of Poverty: Sweatshops in the Global Economy (New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2014) 53.

3. Powell, Out of Poverty, 55.

4. Paul Krugman, “In Praise of Cheap Labor: Bad Jobs at Bad Wages Are Better Than No Jobs at All,” Slate, March 21, 1997. http://www.slate.com/articles/business/the_dismal_science/1997/03/in_praise_of_cheap_labor.html (Accessed April 15, 2014).

5. Powell, Out of Poverty, 54.

6. Powell, Out of Poverty, 66.

7. Powell, Out of Poverty, 66.

8. Powell, Out of Poverty, 33.

9. Powell, Out of Poverty, 33.

10. Powell, Out of Poverty, 35.

11. Powell, Out of Poverty, 35.

12. Powell, Out of Poverty, 35.

13. Powell, Out of Poverty, 84.

14. Powell, Out of Poverty, 84.

15. Paul Krugman, “Reckonings; Hearts and Heads,” New York Times, April 22, 2001, 17.

16. Out of Poverty, 25.

17. Powell, Out of Poverty, 120

 

The Essence of Liberty: Property Rights and Non Aggression

It is a sad truth that many Westerners have never critically investigated libertarian political theory. Volumes upon volumes have been written explaining, describing, arguing, and expanding on libertarianism. This article is simply meant to highlight the most important implications of this political theory.  The following is a basic introduction to the philosophy of liberty. Liberty is a philosophy of nonviolence and private property.

                There are so many intellectual giants upon which these two foundations of libertarianism rest that I cannot adequately cite the ideas represented here. Instead I will provide a list of texts in which to explore the philosophical foundations in depth at the end of this post, including Locke, Mises, Rothbard, Hoppe and others.

                Property rights might not be self-evident but are easily understood. To put it simply, property ownership begins with the concept of self-ownership. Libertarianism champions the sovereignty of every individual. This ownership extends to the fruits of one’s labor and their justly accumulated wealth through trade, entrepreneurship, etc… To own something, one must be able to do with the object whatever he or she sees fit, provided the owner does not infringe upon another individual’s right to exercise their personal self-ownership.  The old saying holds true, “Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose”.

                In correlation with the foundational principle of self-ownership, libertarianism recognizes any infringement of this right as criminal, or illegitimate. Theft and murder are both forms of criminal aggression no matter if they are euphemistically referred to as taxation, or preemptive war. A libertarian does not grant an agent of the State extra rights. If it is illegal for you or I to do, it is illegal for a law enforcement officer as well.

                Some have attempted to refute the validity of the self-ownership principle, on several different grounds. Rather than discussing the details of every refutation that I am familiar with I will begin and end with what Economist and Philosopher Hans-Hermann Hoppe calls argumentation ethics. Hoppe derived this a priori theory from similar logic that libertarian standard bearer Dr. Murray Rothbard employed in his Ethics of Liberty, based in argumentation. Hoppe said:

                “Only because the protected borders of property are objective (i.e., fixed and recognizable as fixed prior to any conventional agreement), can there be argumentation and possibly agreement of and between independent decision-making units. Nobody could argue in favor of a property system defining borders of property in subjective, evaluative terms because simply to be able to say so presupposes that, contrary to what theory says, one must in fact be a physically independent unit saying it.”[1]

As Hoppe implies, if the body is not an independent unit owned by its occupier, then argumentation against such a belief would be impossible. If one does not own the fruits of his or her labor, how would an argument distinct and in opposition to self-ownership be proposed?

                Therefore, the first truth of libertarianism is self-ownership. From here a philosophy of peaceful interaction and cooperation amongst individuals can be derived. These are the traits of a sound political philosophy, and libertarianism is just that. The emphasis on peaceful interaction is a result of the non-aggression principle. In order for the concepts of property and ownership to hold true, the initiation of a violence, or aggression must be illegitimate. Aggression can take many forms, and circumstance is an important variable when considering what constitutes aggression. For instance, the act of killing in self-defense is legitimate, as one has the right to defend his or her own property, in this case, their body. Murder is an entirely different story and is the antithesis of libertarian law, or social code. To murder is also to steal the life of which another individual has ownership.

                Involuntary slavery is as well an affront to the libertarian social code. As was noted so famously in a recent NYT hit piece, Dr. Walter Block pointed out that it was not the labor per se that made American slavery so despicable, but it was the compulsory nature of such a system. The involuntary binding of one individual to another is a criminal act constituting aggression. There is disagreement amongst libertarians concerning the legitimacy of a voluntarily entered contract of slavery, but that is not to be confused with an ambiguity on the practice of slavery as we have seen it on a global scale throughout human history.

                A difference between libertarian law and law as it exists in the Western world today is the constitution of a crime. There are countless laws and regulations that are based in no certain principle, rather only the majority vote or corrupt politicians and bureaucrats. Running afoul of the millions of laws and regulations is a seemingly unavoidable incident. We see this today because the concept of a crime has lost its true meaning. A crime is initiatory aggression upon the property of others, no more and no less. For an in depth defense of certain “crimes” and immoral laws in America today from a libertarian morality, see Defending the Undefendable by Dr. Walter Block of the University of Loyola New Orleans and the Mises Institute.

                If true liberty promises full property rights in an individual’s body and his or her justly acquired properties and possessions, than the criminalization of certain drugs and substances is unjust and arbitrarily dictatorial. In the United States’ War on Drugs the true aggressors are the agents of government who arrest, murder, and imprison peaceful people acting within their right to own themselves. The same analysis holds true of those who voluntarily buy and sell “illegal” drugs, engage in prostitution, enjoy gambling, partake in moonshining, or any other victimless action that is against the law in the United States and most of the Western world. Governments across the world appeal to the morality of its subjects to gain control. The outlawing of these morally questionable activities has never been successful by any meaningful measure excepting the growth of government control and the loss of liberty.

                The final step in grasping the essence of liberty is applying the libertarian ethic to government itself. There are many grounds upon which agents of government break the libertarian social code, but a select few represent the pervasiveness of lawlessness and tyranny. For instance, in the United States the central bank called the Federal Reserve claims and exercises the power to inflate the only money supply that the government recognizes as legal tender. This inflation sends hundreds of billions of US dollars to large banks and lending companies creating a corresponding rise in nominal values reflected by Wall Street, and decreasing the value of what each individual earns and has saved. Understandably, there is debate within libertarianism about the legitimacy of fractional reserve banking, but what is agreed upon by most is that it must be contractual, or voluntary. Alternatively, within the current and mandatory system of increased inflation and legal tender laws, theft is perpetuated by the government onto its subjects.

                Most damning to the legitimacy of the State is its sole means of existence, taxation. Libertarians view taxation as no more than theft on a massive scale. Theft on a scale such as exists today is not only grossly immoral, but harmful to the economy as a whole. Government taxing and spending creates misallocations of resources, aides in the creation of the business cycle[2], and discourages development, innovation, and opportunity. Due to the inevitability of government to grow, the ever increasing rates of taxation, regulation, and inflation leads down what F.A. Hayek called The Road to Serfdom.

                In conclusion, the degree to which libertarians believe that the principles of liberty can be applied varies greatly amongst respected libertarians. The range varies from anarchy to minimal and limited government. Many believe that a small government is needed to protect the principles of liberty. It is certainly true that the human race would advance dramatically with a correspondingly dramatic decrease in the amount of government in, but it is also true that government cannot exist without taxation, and theft is a violation of the principles government is supposed to protect.

                However far each individual libertarian wishes to see the principles of liberty advanced does not have to be a divisive issue. The world today is a Statist paradise that will most certainly lead to death and destruction, the only real specialty of government. Merely expressing agreement and engaging in productive discussion about libertarian theory is essential today.

                I hope this short introduction created enough interest in libertarian political theory to further research any questions and refutations you have. The following is a list of texts that have laid the foundation for the modern movement of peace, freedom, and prosperity.

The Ethics of Liberty – Murray N. Rothbard
Man, Economy, and State with Power and Market – Murray N. Rothbard
For A New Liberty – Murray N. Rothbard
Human Action – Ludwig von Mises
The Economics and Ethics of Private Property – Hans-Hermann Hoppe
The Second Treatise of Government – John Locke
The Left, The Right and The State – Lew Rockwell
The Philosophical Origins of Austrian Economics – David Gordon
Prices and Production and Other Works – Freidrich Hayek
–  Adam Alcorn
Founder/Editor The Humane Condition
@AdamBlacksburg
Adam Alcorn

Adam Alcorn


[1] http://mises.org/daily/4641 Excerpted from Hoppe, Hans-Hermann The Economics and Ethics of Private Property.

Do You Hate the State?

EgyptDo you hate the State?

I think we have all heard tell of the above mentioned “libertarian litmus test”, and while I may not agree with the terminology, I have always felt it usefully applicable in conversation. This question comes from an article written by Murray Rothbard, published in The Libertarian Forum in July of 1977, entitled “Do You Hate the State?“. Rothbard’s article elegantly explains the importance of such a question, but here I will only discuss that nature of the State that so many of us have come to hate. Let us investigate into what the State actually and truly is before we render judgment, shall we?

We will start with the most basic definitions of the broadest sense of government and who better to start with than Webster’s himself? According to Webster’s online dictionary, the relevant definition of a State is:

“5. A. a politically organized body of people usually occupying a definite territory; especially: one that is sovereign”.1

This seemingly straightforward and innocuous introduction followed by the emphasis on sovereignty is very indicative of this lack of a fulfilling definition. What is “state sovereignty”? A famous professor of geo-politics once defined State sovereignty to me as the ability to murder your own citizens without international interference. This is a fact, and our meddling in Pakistan and Yemen (et. al…) are only highlighting the US-led global police force violating the sovereignty of every non-“western”-compliant nation.

Accepting the two prior assertions it is necessary that in order to be in favor of the State and Statism one must meet the following conditions. Firstly, you must have a willful desire to give up a portion of your own personal sovereignty (self-ownership, dominion). For it is impossible that a sovereign “politically organized” body could be organized without the wealth of its subjects. Secondly, you must also demand of each and every human being within the territory occupied by your preferred “political body” that they too live according to the desires of others. Therefore one must be insistent upon others to give up their own personal sovereignty as well.

Thirdly, to support the State one must be willing to shoot and kill any of his “countrymen” that refuse your claim of ownership over their own bodies. This might seem like a philosophical abstract, but every day Americans put Americans into cages for victimless crimes all in the name of the State. What would happen if someone unjustly incarcerated attempts to escape? That is one example of the inevitable, and countless breaches of personal sovereignty committed by the State.

I’ve come to this hardly sympathetic conclusion about the nature of the State simply by taking the standard Webster’s definition to its logical conclusion. And while even under such a benign definition as Webster’s supplied, the State can hardly be considered an institution of virtue. But since we are not usually satiated by standard and benign definitions, let us look at a more rational view of the State, as expressed in Murray Rothbard’s essay Anatomy of the State.

Anatomy of the State     Before even giving his own definition of the State he decries the practice altogether magnificently,“The useful collective term ‘we’ has enabled an ideological camouflage to be thrown over the reality of political life.”2 One of the most effective uses of the term “we” by the propaganda machine was in regards to the military. Instead of making posters for “Our Boys” like was done in the first World War, it has been simply assumed that each and every American is at war with “terror”, or whatever the Great Satan du jour. I did not invade Iraq, Afghanistan, or any other place on Earth; it was simply people who threaten physical force to violate my sovereignty, in order to violate the sovereignty of yet another victim of Statism. Collectivism kills.

So how did Rothbard define the state?

“Briefly, the State is the organization in society which attempts to maintain a monopoly of the use of force and violence in a given territorial area; in particular, it is the only organization in society that obtains its revenue not by voluntary contribution or payment for services rendered but by coercion.”3

Rothbard continues on to reference a German political philosopher who described what he saw as two distinctive ways to increase wealth. Franz Oppenheimer suggests that there is an “economic means” and a “political means”, the difference being in that the former is voluntary and the latter is coercive. The view of our economy through a similar lens, one that sees a sector consisting of only coercive interaction and one made up entirely of voluntary human action, is much clearer. This lens reveals the beauty of the free market, the human race, and the potential for prosperity being strangled by the State.

In further criticism, Rothbard says the State is a provider of “a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; it renders certain, secure, and “peaceful” the lifeline of the parasitic class in society”. Furthermore, “The State has never been created by a “social contract”; it has always been born in conflict and exploitation.” 4

Rothbard put the State in the light it belongs. Logic and morality applies to each and every person no matter the pretty blue uniform.

To add one more definition of that State we go to twitter, and we have reached out to an expert on the matter, and this is how @thestatesucks defines the State: “People in costumes and suits, utilizing a monopoly on force to commit institutional violence on other unsuspecting humans.”5

Please keep in mind the three definitions we’ve discussed today, Webster’s, Rothbard’s, and @thestatesucks ‘s.

To ask again, do you hate the State?

–          the Humane Condition, @AdamBlacksburg

This article was inspired by, and I’m certain ideas were borrowed from Rothbard, here: http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/rothbard75.html

thcondition@gmail.com

  1. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/state
  2. Rothbard, Murray N. “Chapter 1, Chapter 2.” The Anatomy of the State. 1st ed. Vol. 1. New York, NY: Libertarian-Anarchist Book Service, 1974. 11-14. Print.
  3. Rothbard, 13
  4. Rothbard, 11-12
  5. @thestatesucks, 3/4/13

Easy to Become a Libertarian. Easier to Be an Anarchist.

Once someone see’s the light, they usually rejects the modern Democrat and Republican Parties and declare themselves libertarian. This can be a long process like any other evolution, but once firmly entrenched with libertarian principles and philosophies, the truth can never be unlearned. The reality of self-ownership and the principle of non-aggression become firmly held beliefs, and nature repetitively proves your thesis upon observation. This type of reassurance in your ideology, and the confidence of principled argument make certain that once the value of liberty is discovered, it can not be rejected.

STATISM

     This post has expanded from what started as a comment I made on the website http://www.therightscoop.com. These “conservatives” were doing their basic “Rand Bashing”, which is fine by me, but they were totally missing the point behind libertarianism. The modern right often perceives libertarians as holding drug legalization at the top of our to-do lists. The following was my attempt at setting them straight:

“You couldn’t be further from the truth when you assert that Ron Paul’s support came from younger people because of his stance on drugs. What you  fail to understand is the logical consistency between non-intervention in the economy, and non-intervention in foreign affairs. Central planners are bad, whether they are economic or otherwise. No group of people has the ability to build a nation without a free market and the invisible hand of the marketplace. This principle, when applied consistently, leads to small government with only the responsibility of protecting liberty and property. Therefore excluding social/corporate welfare, unnecessary military interventions, and the rest of the monstrosity that government has become.

Logical consistency is attractive, and that is what attracts people of all ages to the philosophy of Ron Paul and libertarianism.”

     When I say libertarianism is easy, this is what I mean. It takes no mental gymnastics to apply the ‘principle’ of non-intervention across the board. A libertarian often becomes exceedingly confident in his belief system due to the principled and philosophical consistency. This confidence and the lack of mental gymnastics necessary to defend the libertarian position, makes it easy!

The consistent libertarian

     So why is it easier to be an Anarchist? Well I never thought I’d say this, but the meme says it all. The very same reasons that being a libertarian is easier than being a Republican or Democrat/Conservative or Liberal, are true for anarchy. If the state is based on immoral coercion in the form of taxation, and this taxation is only enforceable due to a geographical monopoly on the use of force, the state loses every last drop of its legitimacy.

     What are the libertarian solutions? It is my opinion that there is no libertarian solution within the state. However there are libertarians that give answers! Some say that it is a necessary evil. Ludwig von Mises himself was no anarchist. It is HARD to envision a world without government, because it has not existed throughout recorded history. In that sense perhaps anarchism is not easier than minarchism, because we are living in a real life example of minarchism. I’m not say our government is minarchistic in the least, but it started that way. The potentiality of any limited government to become as large as the United States government notwithstanding, anarchism reveals the inconsistencies of libertarianism.

     Many libertarians take a pragmatic approach and are simply not convinced that society could function without a government. That’s that right? Libertarians suggest we maintain a small state with the monopoly power on force over an arbitrary geographical expanse because there is no other way. Again, notwithstanding the many debates about how a stateless society would function (See Rothbards ‘For a New Liberty‘ and Friedmans ‘Machinery of Freedom‘), the libertarian statist position is inconsistent with the very core values of libertarianism, and is that not enough to investigate further?

     So why is anarchy easier than libertarianism? Nonaggression, private property rights, and true freedom cannot occur in a statist society. These principled and philosophical inconsistencies are what lured most of us away from the left/right paradigm in American politics. They will lead us away from libertarianism, and to anarchy. Free market anarchy that is.