The number of Indian families earning about $4500 to $22000 (Rs2,00000, Rs10,00000) per anum, which constitutes the middle class as per the World Bank’s definition of middle class in 1995-96 was 4.5 million, the number of such households grew to 0.7 million in 2001-02. Now India has 28.4 million such families by 2009-10. One can say that the Indian families are growing rich, from poor or deprived families; they are traversing towards the middle income group range. Irrespective of the higher inflation rates, one can justifiably state that the number of high-income households in India has exceeded the number of low-income households and similar is the assertion of National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER).1
Can India achieve richness?
The first issue is about the term India, how can a geographical region grow rich? Individuals in that region may surely gain prosperity but the region in itself is not able to achieve richness. Another issue is, even if India represents its people and not the geographical region, then how can a group or collective society or state grow rich? To grow rich is a Human Action,and a Human Action can be performed only by individual actors, only individuals possess ends and goals and the means to achieve those goals. A group or a collective society or a state cannot act, it even cannot decide. In fact a society cannot exist without the actions of individual members2 .” This certainly means that “India growing Rich” is a metaphor. India cannot grow rich, it cannot be poor, what is being said is that the number of individual families that are now in a richly or prosperous state is increasing. Obviously, it has nothing to do with the society or state or country that is represented by India. Yet, it certainly has a lot to do with the freedom individuals have in the Indian society and how is it influencing their person conditions.
This follows that although a society cannot exist independently without the actions of Individuals, the individuals and their actions can be affected by the society, state or country. That is, if a person in India or his family is growing rich, it is but obvious the result of his hard work and talent, but if a person is living in dire conditions, one of the many reason behind it can be the restrictions or the influence of the society or country he is living in. But how can a country restrict anybody from being rich or poor? Since country cannot act, it cannot restrict, nor can a society restrict. Yet, the “government” representing a society or community or country can surely restrict the individuals it represents. Yet again, what is government? It is a group of some individuals that take decisions and enforces their decisions and policies over the population of their state. When someone says that “government act” what he means is to say that certain individuals are in a certain relationship with other individuals and act in a way that they and the other individuals recognize as “governmental’3 .” The issue is very important to understand. To explain it further, take the issue of tobacco. Indian government pays farmers to grow tobacco; on the other hand, it forces all the companies selling tobacco products to include anti-smoking, anti-tobacco-chewing advertisements on their products. Both actions are contradictory, one may say government should make up their mind and take a consistent action. The thing is, government has no mind, it cannot think, it cannot act. Rather, there are individuals, politicians, judges, bureaucrats, etc. who thinks and take actions.
Thus, even a government cannot act; ultimately the individuals only can take actions; only individuals can have ends and the means to achieve those ends.
Is India really growing rich?
While talking about NCAER results, Martin Ravallion suggest that all these estimates by NCAER far exceed the likely number of people in India who are not poor by US standards. At the start, he simply ignores the importance of Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) and blatantly states that “I will not say that someone has entered the Western middle class until the person has reached the US poverty line”4 . Obviously it is not so easy to understand that a person cannot buy a Reynolds’s ball pen in Rs 5 (approximately $0.1) but one can buy the same ball pen in India at that price. Irrespective of that fact, one cannot say that NCAER’s research is free of errors.
Why India is growing rich?
Now when I have explained that India cannot grow rich, Individuals and their families certainly can grow rich if government (some other ‘individuals’) may not restrict them, I should talk about the current phase of change in the status of individuals in Indian sub-continent. Why are Indian individuals enjoying this progress? Are the new generation of India much better, intelligent or harder working then the individuals of subcontinent before 1991? What has caused this economic progress? Is it the government (the group of ‘ruling individuals’) that has brought this progress?
The fact that India (Indian government, a few individuals who thought they could decide the fate of all individuals in India and who did) deprived itself of many free market benefits for more than 40 years during the Cold War while it flirted with political “neutrality” between East and West, but sought to build much closer economic ties with the Soviet Union. It is only since the collapse of the U.S.S.R. that Indian government started realizing its failure and allowing individuals to act for their prosperity by their own.
The question is, if government is allowing individuals to act for their own prosperity, is it doing any good? Or was it bad when government (or the group of some individuals) restricted individuals to pursue their prosperity and happiness? It is undeniable fact that with the emergence of free market and libertarian approach in Indian sub-continent, Indian individuals are now much freer to think about their ends and to act to achieve those ends. Since they can think for their prosperity and they can act to achieve it too, they are becoming rich.
Is Government Facilitating this Prosperity?
All the welfare and redistribution attempts of Indian government failed in 1991 and it accepted the defeat of Nehru’s centralized socialistic system. After 1991, India accepted the path of decentralization and government started shedding the so-called responsibility of making Indians prosperous and rich. Privatization is the name of mantra; freedom is the message of prosperity.
Obviously, a government (set of ruling individuals) can hinder the progress of individuals, they can legally and coercively ban, restrict and punish individuals from trying to get rich by legislating some senseless national laws, social contracts etc. But when a government realizes its failure and starts decentralizing, allowing individuals to live at their own, then one cannot say that it is the government which is facilitating the prosperity of individuals.
Individuals in Indian sub-continent are certainly growing rich, they are now freer and hence more able to grab the opportunities to use their mind and act to pursue their goals, their happiness and hence they are rich. No governmental group or political party can take the fame of making Indians rich. On the other hand, Indian government should be blamed for keeping Indian individuals under poverty for so long. With the current pace of anti-state trend in Indian sub-continent, as India will enjoy more privatization, decentralization, free market, economic, religious and political freedom, Indian individuals will attain more freedom.
These facts strongly suggest that all the welfare and income redistribution talks of Indian socialistic groups are futile. Lesser governmental control on individuals means lesser poverty, No governmental control over Individuals means No Poverty. Poverty will vanish in a no-government-state.
- Times of India, August 1, 2010, India has more rich people than poor now [↩]
- Murray Rothbard, “Man, Economy, and State”, Auburn, Ala.: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2004, pp. 2–3. [↩]
- Murray Rothbard, “Man, Economy, and State”, Auburn, Ala.: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2004, pp. 2–3. [↩]
- Martin Ravallion, January 2009, The Developing World’s Bulging (but Vulnerable) Middle Class, The World Bank Development Research Group [↩]
Defining recession is not an easy issue specially when there is no widely approved definition for recession. Newspapers and popular business tabloids suggest that recession is a period of general economic decline that causes and results in decline in the Gross Domestic Product of a country for two or more consecutive economic quarters of a financial year. The conventional associated indicators, causes or results of recession are considered to be a decline in stock market figures, dropping realty sector prices, and a steep rise in unemployment rate. Yet, the definition does not emphasize on any such consequences and hence it cannot be termed as a universal definition of recession. Furthermore, with this definition of recession that depends on two quarters of financial year, it is very difficult to mention the exact point of time of the beginning of recession and it is impossible to suggest what was the actual cause of recession. That is, recession remains a mystery.
Right since January 2008, a liquidity crunch was experienced by the non-financial companies and individuals and that resulted in job cuts. The average job loss of USA for the eight months was 81,900 job cuts per month by September 2008, during the last four months, it was 483,500 per month. Unemployment rate caused consumer spending to fell by 3.8% in the three quarters of 2008 and in fourth quarter it fell by 36% below the final quarter of 2007.Hence, the National Bureau of Economic Research’s Business Cycle Dating Committee declared that the US economy is in recession since January 20081 .
The mainstream economists and media pundits suggest that the cause of a recession is the tight money policies and raised interest rates by the Central government that results in liquidity crunch and causes job cuts, declining consumer spending and hence a recession2 . They thus support that stimulating the economy with easy money, governmental loans, huge stimulus packages and lowering interest rates may help the economy in bringing the boom again. The idea suggests that the Market cycles of Boom and Burst originates from the central bank action of expanding the money flow in the market and contracting it. They suggest that proper stimulus packages and government spending over the common welfare programs can easily sooth the situation by allowing more currency to float in the market. Plus, they suggest that such common welfare spending also help in improving the life of standards of common populace.
Failure of Obama’s Stimulus Packages
The idea of mainstream economists is absolutely flawed and this can be easily seen with the failure of the economic stimulus given by the Bush government and supported by the new government of Obama.
It should be clear that a Burst or a recession occurs because there was a boom in market. A boom obviously is the period when an economic sector is unnecessarily provided easy loans, higher profits and more support by the authorities and central government to cause high rise in prices that creates a false demand in the market and causes inflation. That is, the downturn, or the depression or the recession is exactly because of the Central bank, not because it started tightening the financial sources, rather it is because of malinvestment initiated by previously created credit resulting from central bank3 . Mainstream economists also suggest that the market will recover and the prices will inflate again if further easy money is provided through government spending, ridiculously huge stimulus packages and other similar tactics. They believe that by doing so, the stock market will again start rising high. Yet, with all economic stimulus provided, stocks as a broad group are down since last ten years4 . That is, economic stimulus and credit policies of Central bank failed since last 10 years.
It is also important to understand the reason of liquidity crunch. A liquidity crunch occurs only when the present amount of money in the market, which is nothing but a means of exchange, is malinvested in those sectors that are facing false demand or boom. Since the money was malinvested in supplying the false demand, it gets trapped. Lenders don’t get their loan back and they suffer liquidity crunch. Thus, the reason of a recession is the easy credit policies by the government and central bank that causes Boom in the market. When the wrong policies of the government and central bank fail, the market suffers recession.
Recession is not the problem, it is the cure of the problems of Malinvestment
Thus, recession can be defined as a cure to the ill-policies of government and central bank that caused boom in certain sectors such as housing market. Because of that boom, easy credit policies, subsidies, easy lending and many other government and central bank caused factors, the prices soars to extreme high and causes inflation and money gets trapped in malinvestment. As the recession acts as a cure to this situation of extreme falsehood, it starts decreasing the extent of false demand and tries to bring the market to its actual true situation. The prices start declining and the economy starts recuperating from the illness of false heights.
Since recession itself is the cure of problems of malinvestment that were caused by the government and central bank’s ill easy money and credit policies, it cannot be cured by further stimulus. The stimulus will only sustain the recession for longer periods until all the malinvestment is not neutralised and the economy comes in a situation to achieve sustainable growth5 . The idea can also be substantiated with the expectations of Housing economists who expect that over the next 10 or 20 years, the prices in realty sector may start rising again on an average, but that rise won’t be as much as the average rise was during the past decade6 . Obviously, because of easy money and mislead credit policies caused a boom in housing market and created a false demand that consequently resulted in unsustainable boom. As a neutralising phenomenon, the market forces caused liquidity crunch to cure the malinvestment. Until the malinvestment will not neutralise, market will not gain sustainable growth. Stimulus package can only delay the time for achieving the sustainable growth. The stimulus also failed to provide any help in improving the job market, the unemployment rate is still 9.7% in the month of May 20107 , while it was 6.9% in 20088 .
Now with the problems of liquidity crunch still persisting, even the retirees are looking forward to find jobs9 . The situation shows that expensive stimulus may also push US towards the same fate that the Greece government and public are suffering right now.
Robert Lucas supported the idea of Ben Bernanke to reduce the interest rates10 . Every sane minded person will support the idea. In fact, the government or the central bank should not have the power to decide or dictate the interest rates. Interest rates should be decided by the free market proponents freely as per the time requires and permits. Yet, till how long will the central bank and government let the market enjoy the falsehood of stability on the basis of stimulus, what will happen when the central bank and Obama administration will look forward to take the stimulus back? Only then the market will again step forward towards curing the malinvestment caused by bad credit policies and only after that cure the market will be in a position to attain a sustainable growth.
- William A. Strauss, 2009, Economic Outlook Symposium: Summary of 2008 results and forecasts for 2009, Chicago Fed Letter [↩]
- John P. Cochran, Austrian Business Cycles, Plucking Models, and Real Business Cycles, Austrian Schollar Conference, Auburn, Alabama [↩]
- John P. Cochran, 2001, Austrian Business Cycles, Plucking Models, and Real Business Cycles, Austrian Schollar Conference, Auburn, Alabama [↩]
- E.S Browning, 2009,After the Collapse, Guarded Hope for ’09, The Wall Street Journal, January 2, 2009 [↩]
- John P. Cochran, 2001, Austrian Business Cycles, Plucking Models, and Real Business Cycles, Austrian Schollar Conference, Auburn, Alabama [↩]
- James R. Hagerty, 2008, The Future of Home Prices, The Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2008 [↩]
- TradingEconomics, May2010 [↩]
- William A. Strauss, 2009, Economic Outlook Symposium: Summary of 2008 results and forecasts for 2009, Chicago Fed Letter [↩]
- Kelly Greene, 2009, There Goes Retirement, The Wall Street Journal, March 1, 2009 [↩]
- Robert E Lucas Jr., 2008, Bernanke is the Best Stimulus Right Now, The Wall Street Journal, December 23, 2008 [↩]
This is a theory I have been pushing forward for some time now but I rarely get support on it from libertarians despite of the fact that it is really promising and has huge positive consequences in a consistent libertarian theory.
Let me just straightaway come to the point. In a society of pure liberty, if an individual hires an assassin to kill someone, is this individual guilty of murder?
Yes we all know that the assassin is definitely guilty of murder, but the way we have grown up in the statist mindset it just sounds unjust to not punish the guy who is hiring people to murder others. Allow me to make my case on why its not consistent with the principles of individualism and liberty to hold the contractee guilty of murder.
Libertarianism is about Individualism
The fact is that Libertarian philosphy relies heavily on individual, and individual action. Numerous times this question is asked me, and this question is the single question which will determine if you are truly libertarian or not.
If you can save 100,000 individuals by killing one individual(who is not guilty of murder), is it ok to kill him to save 100K other individuals?
If you answered the above question as no, its not ok to kill one to save 100 thousand other individuals, then congratulations you are a libertarian. If not then you are possibly liberty-curious, statist, left-libertarian, Fascist-libertarian and every other possible flavor of libertarianism, but just not libertarian.
I don’t have a lot of space to explain a big answer to this question, but a short defense is, that if you truly are facing the delimma of killing one to save 100K others, you got more problems to worry about than if you should stick to libertarianism or not.
Libertarian philosophy differs from other philosophies because it is the only philosophy which values individual so highly. Every other philosophy is essentially some or the other form of collectivist ideology. This distinction is very important because almost every mainstream ideology in US can claim to be ‘libertarian’, because liberty is a very seductive word in America.
Once you establish this unique identifier about liberty, the most logical question which arises in the debate above is, if you are so much for individual responsiblity and actions, how can you not see that the person who gave the contract merely offerred a choice to the assassin. The choice was:
a) Take $100K from him and kill his wife
b) Do not take $100K and not kill his wife
Remember, a choice is a choice, not a compulsion. If contractee has compelled the assassin in some or the other way that is he left him no choice, and by that I mean if he was coerced to commit the assassination then the assassin is not guilty of murder here the guilt lies completely with the contractee. But offerring money to someone isn’t coercion. If someone offers you money for doing something wrong, no matter how much that money is, this is in no way coercion.
If the assassin wanted, he could have not accepted the money and not committed the crime. The person who offerred him the money merely made a proposition to him.
“But wouldn’t this promote a lot of contract killings?”
One may argue that if we let the people hiring assassins get off the hook wouldn’t this create a huge market for assassins and assassinations? First of all this is a utilitarian argument, so the answer must be utilitarian too. The fact is that since people who hire assassins are getting off the hook, they have absolutely no incentive to keep their mouth shut about the murder. The individuals hiring the assassins(if they don’t feer ostrecization) can now go on the television and claim who killed person X. This essentially reduces the supply of assassins to the market. They are much more in trouble now because they will be solely responsible for the murder now, where as their employer for whom this job was done walks free even blabbering about the crime.
So yeah even though there is more incentive for people to higher assassins, there is much less incentives for assassins to be assassins. Like everything else in utilitarianism we just cannot measure what will be what. Therefore we must rely on the principle, and that clearly dictates that if a person had a choice to not do that act of aggression then we expect him to not do that act of aggression.
In a society of pure liberty as an individual its your responsibility to not aggress against other individuals, and if someone convinces you otherwise then its only your fault, nobody else in the world will be responsible for actions you committed.
Someone may make a point now that although they agree that the person who commits the crime must be responsible for his actions, but why are we not holding the person who caused the crime, responsible? Isn’t his crime in this case “Creating the situation which caused the death of an individual”?? The answer is very simple, you are just describing his action into the most guilty way possible, but all this individual did, when broken down to it, was to offer a choice to another individual. That was his action, and unless providing choices to individuals is a crime in your viewpoint, this guy is not guilty of anything.
“What if I hold a gun on your head and make you commit murder?”
This is a very valid question, if someone holds guns on your head, you do not have a choice in this case, as you were coerced to do that action. Here the person who held the gun on your head is the guilty and responsible party for the murder. To solve this issue, the courts should follow something which I call as ‘weapon doctrine’, if you have no free choice then you were merely a weapon of the crime, not the criminal himself.
* If someone holds a gun on your head and make you do murder, you are weapon.
* If someone holds a gun on your wife’s head, and makes you commit murder, again its a bit difficult to determine if you are a weapon or not but the chances are you are.
* If someone mixes poison in your food and instead of giving you anti-dote asks you to commit a murder, you are a weapon.
* If you consume poison somehow, or someone gives you the poison but the person giving you the antidote and asking you to commit a murder in exchange has nothing to do with you getting poisoned then you choosing to kill, is only your responsibility, not theirs. In this case you are not the weapon.
* If your boss asks you to kill someone otherwise get fired, and you do it, then you are not the weapon.
There cannot be a state or state like entity in a society of pure liberty
The last point above opens up a pandora’s box in terms of the consequences of this principle. You killing someone because you were ordered to do so, or you were merely doing your job, is now a non-sequitor, because it doesn’t matter who gave you the order, they are just not sharing the fault here with you. The biggest concern here is, “If the person who gave the orders is not responsible in any way for the action his employee committed then that means you will let Hitler walk free?”, well the answer isn’t simple because I am sure Hitler would be guilty of a lot of actions he actually did do, but simply speaking, yes Hitler will not be held responsible for the actions his soldiers committed.
This maybe be appalling to many people(and possibly the reason why its so hard to convince libertarians on this issue), but the truth is, by establishing this level of atomic guilt, you are ensuring that Hitler will find it impossible to get soldiers to work for him who are simply rationalizing all their henious acts as ‘I was just doing my job’.
This isn’t even the last of the arguments, this simple principle guarantees that the basic structure of any private defense organization(PDO) in a free society would be such that its the individual responsibility of each employee that the orders given to him are just orders and are not aggressing against any individual.
For example: You are a PDO employee whose task is to apprehend criminals, you get an order that a guy named John Marshton has killed someone and he must be arrested for it, and if he resists then you can use deadly force because he deserves to die for that crime.
Your problem: If this guy turns out to be innocent, your boss is in no way in any problem, its you and only you who will get punished. Since your boss doesn’t share the guilt in this possible act, he may not be so careful with his decision.
Your solution: You now must personally make sure that there is enough evidence against this guy and he did commit that murder. So you do not just get ‘orders’ from your employer, but you get the full case file, you get the verdict of the trial, the whole proceedings and you find out that the guy under all definition of the word ‘guilty’, is actually guilty.
This assuring of the guilt is emulated in our current system as ‘arrest warrant’, the police officers cannot randomly start arresting people, a judge issues an arrest warrant against an individual after looking at the evidence and reasons against him and police officer then relies on it to arrest someone. Although the similarities end there. Arrest warrants can be issued for anything, and it still isn’t the same thing as the document or file detailing all the evidence against the individual. The only reason I made this parallel so that those who are worried about the lack of the ‘greatness’ of a our current legal system where there are arrest warrants and search warrants.
Anarchist Search Warrant
Here is the interesting part of the article, many people ask me the question, ‘In a free society if an individual runs and hides to a property(or his own property) where you are not allowed to enter, or any PDO is not allowed to enter, how will this guy be captured?’
Many people envision a statist kind of solution that somehow PDO’s will be allowed to enter a property, otherwise it would cause a lot of lawlessness in the society. But this solution breaks down really fast, because it isn’t really a libertarian thing. Its really a very simple question to answer, that is if you strictly adhere to the above mentioned principle of extreme atomic guilt theory(EAGT), then you will realize that no individual would want to aggress upon another indivdual merely because it was his job or he received orders from someone else.
Basically each individual who works for the PDO, for him to possibly aggress against another individual, he must ensure it himself that its not an initiation of aggression. For example, if your PDO has rendered the verdict that person X is guilty of murder and you have seen the whole proceedings and agreed with the conclusion then you can pursue the guilty individual with the use of deadly force.
The reason why any PDO would want to go through this way because if that individual turns out to be not guilty and he has been aggressed upon then the PDO employee would be held liable for all crime of initiation of aggression and (most probably) by contract PDO would be required to pay for restitution. A search warrant or an arrest warrant essentially in this case is a release document from the insurance organization claiming that all individuals involved in this act of aggression have seen through all the evidence and testimonies and concluded that the individual is guilty. Remember this overseeing of the case and trial isn’t the same thing as the trial itself(well I am hoping that this is more expeditated and faster than a trial), its merely going through the evidences and arguments and concluding that the verdict was accurate. If they do not feel it was accurate they have a right to excuse themselves.
This insurance requirement ensures that the least amount of property rights violation is done by the company, and least amount of damage payment is required.
In case of a false documents and testimonies, it will be liability of the individual who created the false documents and testimonies, for example if a person testified that he saw X enter that building, and this testimony becomes the basis for a verdict which renders X guilty, but later it turns out that he perjured, then in this case the actual individual who committed the act of aggression ended up being only the weapon of the crime and the crime was committed by the person who perjured.
Similarly if the judge took the bribe and falsifies the proceedings to alter the verdict to be guilty(or otherwise), will be the solely guilty individual for the aggression committed over the falsely convicted individual, not the PDO enforcer who looked at the records and proceedings and like any just man agreed with the judge’s conclusion.
No state or state like entities can be created
The biggest concern of people who consider Anarchy as an option is that in a free society the best private defense organization will rise and end up becoming a monopoly which is essentially a state-like entity. The truth is that a society of pure liberty, which follows this principle will realize that the formation of state or state-like private defense organizations is not possible, because we have eliminated the concept of soldiers. If you join a private defense organization which asks you to take away property of an individual because he stole it, then its your responsibility to ensure that its really stolen, and not blindly follow their orders.
Imagine this scenario, you join a Private Defense Organization which aims to act as a government, they already have 85% of the market share because they were so good at their job. Your boss, now asks you to go and raid a warehouse owned by your biggest competitor, you now must ask the question to him about why should you do such a thing. If he shows you the proof that the warehouse contains stolen property, and like any rational and just man you are unable to consider that proof to be sufficient to consider it as a stolen property then you must not follow the orders. If you do follow the orders then when the justice will be served only you will be held guilty for that action, not your boss will go free.
So think again, even if you want to joing an organization and become the state, why would you want to be the foot soldiers, nobody who is not a foot soldier or doing the actual acts of aggression in your organization will ever be punished.
The implications of this are huge, organizations who aim to become an entity like state will find it impossible to get people who would commit acts of aggression for them. Some people would still be willing to do it but their fees would be really, really high.
Just to be thorough, lets imagine an organization which is fully comprised of individuals who are willing to follow the orders about initiating aggression against others, after all its possible. What is not possible in this society is for this organization to become as big and powerful as we earlier expected the best PDO to become.
Finally, if an PDO who has a share of 85% of the market suddenly gets a change of conscience one day and realizes that they must now become the government, will soon find out that they may be the most powerful militant organization, but they do not have that 85% market share anymore, and it will be reduced massively as soon as people realize that this PDO is willing to commit aggression against them. The remaining honest private defense organizations will get an influx of new subscribers, and new money to expand their operations. In the stock market the prices of the rogue PDO will plummit, and the honest PDOs will rise.
This may still not be sufficient to completely defeat the rogue PDO but if we follow the extreme atomic guilt principle we will find that the chances of above scenario happening are really low, so low that we can even say that a society of pure liberty which follows true and pure principle of individual responsibility will find that principle acting as a deterrent against the formation of state or state like private organizations.
What would it mean to live in a completely free society? In dealing with personal sovereignty, which takes precedence: freedom of association or property rights? At first glance, we know that these two are tied together into one idea through self-ownership but when looked at more deeply, they can conflict.
There are Two Constructions of Libertarianism as set up by Chandran Kukathas in Libertarian Papers Vol 1, 11 (2009). One of these is a world in which there is complete freedom of association—the right to give up your libertarian right for the moment to whatever is yours in order to live in a statist or communal society, which can end up a world where we have many property rights violations, like those born into such communities who are not shown the way. The other is authoritarian propertarianism–self-ownership protected against those who would take it from you; meaning immoral agents barricading the knowledge of your libertarian rights from you.
The second one, which Kukathas calls the “Union of Liberty” would require a codification of Voluntaryist law, or, what it means to actually live within the framework of libertarianism. There are a lot of obvious problems with this construction, namely, that we are talking pretty much about giving a sovereign rule making body search warrant powers over the whole of the society in order to protect property rights, possibly routine or based on anonymous claims. This can turn into a lobbying opportunity for people who would like to force their definition of Liberty onto others.
The more metaphysically bankrupt side of this proposition though rests in its misunderstanding of language. To have a group of people, the Commission on Standards for Liberty, usurp the most intimate part of us: our brains and as a social species: our form of communication, in the name of the principle of self-ownership is beyond comprehension and lacks an understanding of language, the mind, and I believe some fundamentals about what spontaneous order really means.
As we have seen it said a thousand times before, one thing that freedom means is the freedom to make mistakes, to mess up and learn from them, but to do it on your own terms. Understanding the Rothbardian idea that selling yourself into slavery is literally impossible, there is nothing within a non-free community that lives within a larger free society that is actual immoral or a negation of self-ownership. For as we do not believe in positive rights, we cannot say that people have a right to understand their autonomy or a right to know their other options anymore than we can say that people have a right to good housing or health care. Ideas as such are not an economic goods because they are in super abundance and their content can be duplicated ad infinitum without taking away from the original “owner.” This means any person is free to them at any time, but this does not mean there is a moral obligation to present the ideas to somebody to evaluate them by their own standards.
So, there is a two-fold problem with this literal monopolization of defining the term liberty as in, a certain firm will be barring others from entering into the service that they provide, which is interpreting the word that the whole of society rests on.
First, we see a demand made on every individual about the way in which they have to spend their time and empty the contents of their brain: if you are a communist and you have a child, it will be “mandated” that you give them full knowledge of the other politoco-economic social structures that they can be a part of.
Secondly, that it is also telling people how to use language. Language, being the most essential social and mental tool, is one of the main things we need to safeguard against any attempt at one agency having ultimate control over. The easiest way to demonstrate how individualized language is would be to use a strong word: LOVE. Many people will look at this and think of Hollywood romantic, others their family, other people will think about a real, knowledgeable love and still others just think pain.
Another case in point about how language can be used to manipulate us is from what some people consider one of the highest philosophical “social contracts” that have ever been created: the US Constitution. Trying to put limitations on a government through the use of words is a futile attempt because like every part of the Universe, words are a constantly evolving constructions and because almost anything in this world can be used for good or for bad, it will move towards whichever we allow it to. As in all things, the diversification allowed for in the individualized method is what leads to great competition and cooperation and the least infringement on one’s personhood.
So, on the other side of the coin, why is it that it is more “libertarian” to allow for unfree societies to exist in a free world?
If there is one thing that propagates the state more than anything else, it is the compulsory schooling that we have, that teaches children how to become good citizens instead of good people. Why is this so damaging? Because what they are doing is taking away the children’s ability to think for themselves which is so very essential to our soft-bodied species.
If there is one force fighting against the state, then that is people’s ability to obtain the information that they want and need even though the state doesn’t want them to have it. There is a wealth of people who want this information because if your spirit is not broken, you are born with the ability and the craving for self-direction.
If anarchocapitalism is based on the idea that men are more good than bad, and that we have the ability to control ourselves and weigh out the cost benefit of any situation that is within our control–that is, having to do with ourselves and our property–then to dictate that people must learn this or that thing, that people must believe in things this way and be saved from their own ignorance, is a total 180 from what it is that we are supposed to stand for from a moral perspective.
We trust in markets because we trust people to do what is best for them. To say that people must be given this information in order to choose what is right for them instead of allowing them to follow their true hearts and minds, to not trust people to know what is right for them even in the face of adversity and oppression, is in absolute opposition with stated principles. The only way we can have a libertarian society come to fruition is to educate those who will listen, reach out to those that haven’t a clue, and to accept when people do not agree with the position. We do not force our position, we do not demand it be followed.
I would also muse that whatever technology a non-capitalist society came up with to block the incoming of information, capitalists could overcome that because of the greater organization and the profit motive.
As long as other communities are not aggressing against us, there is absolutely no moral or logical justification for enforcing our interpretation of liberty on them.
Consumerism is the principle of Free Market, which states, “free choice of consumer should rule the market, or, the consumer decides the economic structure of the society“. Producers and providers bring their products to the market and make it certain that consumers, the public, may gain enough knowledge about their product so that, if the consumer decides that the particular product is good, they may buy it.
To spread the knowledge of their product, producers advertise and apply proper marketing strategies. The consumer remains free either to accept the product and buy it, or to reject it at certain price.
Now days, producers are delivering good attractive services, better comfortable products and advanced technologies in the market. Some people claim that all this advancement is redundant and nobody needs it.
Do we want better technology, superior products and services that are more effective?
Human desires are infinite and so is his potential. We want better medical services, information technology, better telecommunication services, better heating and cooling devices in our homes and office rooms. We desire better toothpastes, toothbrushes, better hair oils and shampoos, better and more verities of food, wine, better cleaning products, better cell phone, better ipods, better televisions, better laptops, better internet, we all want better and improved.
It is our want that drives the market to innovate and provide new technologies, services and products.
We want better and faster vehicles, satellite phones, and internet access. We need clean and filtered water, we need lifts and elevators, we need homes, we need security we need better services, we want more options.
Consumerism makes it possible. We are receiving everything we wish for and the market is providing them. Free market is nothing but a group of billions of people working together with free will, innovating and inventing further for the improvement, free market is also a system that joins billions of people together, yet provide full freedom for each individual to live for himself, at his own conditions with his own efforts. Nobody is pulling legs of other to rise higher. Market competition is nothing but a constant try of innovators and entrepreneurs to learn and satisfy the hearts and minds of consumers. Consumers are undoubtedly the kings of free market.
It is all consumerism, to desire better and to have full freedom to make one’s dream come true.
The socialists call it devilish, they say people do not need improvement, they say materialistic quest for making life better is futile. They say all this improvement in standards of life is waste. They ignore the real effect of all these changes. While blaming consumerism and crying anti-consumerism songs, they just hide away the evidences of improvement in human conditions.
Since the start of civilization, wise people are trying to search a self-sustaining system that may serve the common person rather than just the aristocrats and the rulers.
Free market is the quest for that riddle. Free market provide the system through which, the billions of unplanned desires and wants, billions of unorganized and independent economic choices succeeds in creating a self-sustaining system of production and provision to satisfy and serve everyone.
Now socialists, anti-consumerists decries against this system, they say consumerism provides too much for too many, they say it is not necessary and it is wastage. They say people does not need these things, they are mere senseless materialistic wants.
The question is, are the consumers buying those things that are not required? Who dictates the difference between a need and a want? Some religious guru, or some socialist dictator?
One’s desperate need is fulfilled by Other’s want for Leisure
The fact, which makes the free market sustainable, is “the need of a person is fulfilled as a resulting effect of fulfilment of other’s want. That is, wants and needs are interlinked in a free market.
A common example of this fact is, the Shiksha India program run by Confederation of Indian Industry1 . CII is a non-governmental and non profit organization managed by Shiksha India trust. Shiksha India works closely with schools and institutions across India and helps promote use of technology for making teaching-learning more effective. To run such a non-profitable organization, money is collected from a free market strategy of advertisement. Various products of industries, which are a part of CII, provide donations for Shiksha India Trust. In return, they use the motive of Shiksha India as an advertising strategy.
The common advertisement they propagate is
“Support Shiksha, lead a child to the path of education, Buy large packs of Tide, Ariel, Pantene, H&S, Rejoice, Vicks VapoRub, Whisper, Gillette Mach 3 Turbo, or Pampers, & lead a child to the path of education.”2
The advertisement simply suggests that the more you consume, the more poor kids get proper education.
Consider another example, a person’s child is badly sick, he is trying to get her to a doctor. The urgent clinic is open until late night; the neighboring drug store is also open. The desperate father goes out; get the proper medicine and gets in, to save his daughter. There is nothing phony demand in this entire act of saving a child’s life.
However, the urgent clinic can remain open late because its office is situated in a dense mall with low rents and higher access. The medicine store is open late night because cosmetic store, bakery, bear bar, sports shop, a swimming pool, a hotel facilitating late night parties and discotheque also share the area where the medicine store is situated. All of these stores are selling superfluous things. They pay rent too. The owner of the mall would not have made that place if those less desperate needs were not to be sold there. That is, the want of leisure and pleasure of other people became the reason for the prompt and urgent health-care of that child. Some of the Indian cities are experiencing development, socialists call it redundant, Indian villages does not have such superfluous stores, they do not have proper schools and hospitals too.
The demand of public for the non-essential wants became the background of hospital facilities for the needful.
The same is the case of luxury goods such as mobile phone. Mobiles were meant to be available for the rich alone. It was not an essential demand it was a luxury good. Only the rich could use them. The innovators created cheaper versions; the capitalists increased the production and made it affordable even by the middle class and lower middle class person, now even the poorest of Indians is likely to have his mobile phone.
Quality of life improved even for the poorest person. He is more resourceful now and able to earn more.
Some people believe that quality of life does not matter, for them; equality of life is better idea. The question for such people is, why not the poorest should get easy access to vast grocery stores, medical stores, better food, technology, and other not-so-essential luxuries? Consumerism helps the facilities, better services, and technological comfort to reach to the poorest strata of society. Consumerism actually reduces poverty. In addition, the better quality of life provided by consumerism has its own importance. It is natural right of the people to have freedom to choose and buy market products, as they want. Free market provides this freedom to the consumer, the people. Free market keeps providing better technology and products at cheaper rates, and this ability of free market is driven by the motive of consumerism.
Better quality of life has improved the average life of people too. The average life of women and men in 1900 were 48 and 46 years respectively. Now, the average life of women and men consumers is 80 and 77 years respectively. Obviously, consumerism is serving consumers. Infancy death rates dropped hugely because consumerism brought better medical help and vaccines. Death toll due to epidemics reduced to great extent. Overall consumerism is serving humanity to lead human for better, more comfortable and more satisfactory quality of life.
Either those who oppose and criticize consumerism are misled or they have some evil motives against the developing humanity.
- Welcome to Shiksha India, a CII Initiative in association with CRY [↩]
- Shiskha India in association with CRY, 2006 report, Shiksha India CII [↩]
Fiscal deficit is a common trend of current socialist mixed economy governmental regimes all round the world.
Fiscal deficit is an economic phenomenon of collective state where the government’s expenditure exceeds the total revenues collected. Fiscal deficit gives the idea to the government about how much it need to borrow from the available sources to attain the budget requirements.
In India, the Reserve Bank of India performs the deficit financing. Government may also borrow money from other banks of the money market.
Reserve Bank of India does not produce wealth, but yes, it does produce currency by printing out notes out of thin air to meet the fiscal deficit requirements. When the RBI print out currency to fulfil the requirements of government, the currency reaches the market and that causes inflation and acute price rise.
The current acute price rise in India (especially in food sector) is evidently the result of the government stimulus it provided on behalf of borrowing from RBI that in turn simply print and dolled out currency in the market to increase the liquidity. Now those “stimulus” for the market is causing problems for the common man. That is, although government borrows money from RBI, which in turn, prints out money at the demand of politicians and government, the actual borrower who suffers the burden of debt is only the common man of India who has to face the yawning mouth of inflation every second day.
India’s fiscal deficit for the April to December 2009 was $66.9 billion.1
So we can say that Indian government works on the principle of “Aamdani Aththanni Kharchaa Rupaiya” (expenditure exceeds income), and to maintain the expenditures, government burdens the common man with the always exceeding debt.
Anjalika Bardalai the senior economist and editor of Economist Intelligence Unit said in March 2009 that the fiscal deficit is probably the biggest downside risk that we see to the Indian economy.2
Reserve Bank Governor D. Subbarao also expresses his converns regarding the failure of regulated economy.
“I worry that in resolving this financial crisis perhaps we are sowing the seeds of the next crisis…next crisis could be a currency or a fiscal crisis,” Subbarao said.3
India is no new to the threat of extreme debt and bankruptcy. India faced the similar situation in 1990 when Indian government was forced to accept liberalization. Obviously, nobody would like to have a repeat of 1990 fiscal crisis. Yet, it is a possibility. To reduce that risk, Indian government strictly needs to control its expenditure and reduce the burden of welfare state, that is, government need to disinvest further.
The Fiscal Crisis of Euro Zone
The evidential repercussions of governmental expenditures and debt burden on the Euro zone countries are a matter of thought for financial world. The crisis began in Greece and is expanding to Spain and Portugal. It would be foolhardy to believe that the crisis will constrain itself to the weaker economies of Europe alone.
In 2008, when Pakistan faced bankruptcy due to its fiscal debt, economist warned that Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Argentina could also slide into a downward spiral towards bankruptcy, and to that list, now we have added Greece, Spain and Portugal. Ex-IMF chief economist Simon Johnson openly stated that the UK should also be considered in the category of nations at the verge of bankruptcy because of huge governmental fiscal deficits.4 There is no reason to doubt the ex-Chief economist of IMF because of the fact that the euro-zone governments are predominantly welfare states with extreme high fiscal deficits year by year. The budget situation in all European countries is extremely weak with no hope for a manageable budget any soon. The government obviously provides huge welfare benefits for the citizens in shapes of free-education, Universal Health Care systems and other socialistic patterns that obviously increase huge collective wastage of resources produced by citizens.
Simon Jones said, “They seem to show no awareness at all that much of Europe is facing a serious crisis and it’s not limited to Spain, Greece and Portugal, it’s also going to include Ireland. I think Italy is also very much in the line of fire. There’s a very serious crisis inside the Euro zone.”
The only way for these economies to avoid the situation of bankruptcy is to reduce their fiscal deficit to minimal and that is possible only by reducing the governmental expenditures, i.e. by restricting government to very limited or no power to interfere with market.
During the Global Meltdown, when the government of major countries were announcing “economic stimulus” for the market, socialists were claiming how the Market is unable to be free and needs governmental help. I mentioned how the Economical Stimulus are not a Cure it is Venom5 . The current situation throughout the world is evidential proof for that opinion.
The world is still to learn a simple fact that there is no such thing as a Keynesian free lunch, that government does not produce anything, and whenever it robs individuals of their wealth for the purpose of welfare of society or nation, such crisis evolves to brutalize every individual.
US, the most powerful Borrower
Larry Summer once asked in US Congress “How long can the world’s biggest borrower remain the world’s biggest power?”6
The question signified its strength when Moody’s Investors Service cautioned that the triple A credit rating of the US could not be taken for granted.
For its grandeur position as a citizen friendly government providing them free gifts, entitlements, subsidies, stimulus, educational helps, Medicare, Medicaid and other social service programs, US government keeps borrowing money from Fed by issuing T-bonds. President Obama has also dreams of Universal Health-care and Free Education for US citizens. Further government need funds to keep its worthless and terrorizing schemes of War on Terror. The unaware citizens feel good and strong at such governmental gestures and politicians keep on playing with the future of citizens, burdening them with further huge debts, announcing further social programs like Universal Health care and free education. The current national debt on US is around 13 trillion. President Barrack Obama signed ceiling of $14.3 trillion public debt on February 12, 2010. The yearly Public debt chart shows that US debt never decreased and it will always keep on increasing.7
Renowned economist, editor of Financial Times and author of “The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of World” Professor Ferguson stressed that
The long-run projections of the Congressional Budget Office suggest that the US will never again run a balanced budget. That’s right, never.8
Such huge national debt increases the fears of default and currency depreciation, and an immediate hyperinflation that push up real interest rates. The higher interest rates drag down the growth further while the private sector also suffers the burden of debt. In addition, to pay back and avoid bankruptcy, government tries to increase revenues by confiscating private property, increasing taxes that in turn dilapidate the private sector completely causing extreme unemployment, poverty, food crisis, riots and complete chaos.
According to International Monetary Fund, the developed countries need to manage their fiscal deficit within a decade in order to avoid defaults. Worst condition of nations under debt is of Japan and UK, than Ireland, Spain, Greece and at sixth place, is US.
Conclusion: The economic stimulus proved out to be venom; the western countries are now in a deep fiscal crisis while India and China are facing the huge inflation problems. The collective welfare statist ideology is wrong at its base and the world need to understand that the only cure for the Market is Freedom from any sort of Governmental interference.
With such huge debt burdens, the governments now need to heed the libertarian urge for free market. Governments need to restrict their welfare programs. There should be no government interference in market. Governments now need to work for reduction of expenditures and reduction of debts.
- India Apr-Dec fiscal deficit at $66.9 bln – govt, Reuter India [↩]
- ‘High fiscal deficit, biggest risk to India’ Anjalika Bardalai, senior editor/economist, Economist Intelligence Unit. [↩]
- Next crisis could be related to currency or fiscal: RBI, D Subbarao, Governor of RBI [↩]
- The UK should be seen in the same category of countries as Greece and Spain, who are facing severe debt problems, a leading economist has said, Ex-Chief Economist of IFA [↩]
- Economic Stimulus is not Cure, it is Venom, RFL [↩]
- Larry Summers’ killing Question on US Fiscal Deficit, NYTimes [↩]
- United States public debt, Wikipedia [↩]
- Professor Ferguson,
A Greek crisis is coming to America, Financial Times [↩]
Often people suggest that free-education is a moral, well-intentioned noble idea that somehow fails to work. Free education obviously is impractical but the issue of free education is really a noble moral idea? Can education be designated as a fundamental right and more than that, is education compulsorily needed?
Socialized education just as socialized health-care is not a case of dignified speculation but failure in practice; rather it is a case of inhuman hypothesis that is impractical. Yet, politicians always keep pushing the issue of education upfront for their political motive, painting it as a moral obligation for all and for doing so; they often try to declare education as an Individual’s right. Moreover, by doing so, politicians ensure a very productive education sector under totalitarian governmental control.
What is a Right!
The term “Rights” is a moral political term, Right is defined as a definite course of behavior of Individuals in a society that is sanctioned, proper, allowed, a privilege to be respected by all others and if anybody violates any individual “Right”, he is wrong, immoral, unsanctioned, evil, a criminal.
Now, if education is a right, then anybody arguing that Education cannot be free, education cannot be a privilege, education cannot be a right is obviously a criminal, an evil-doer, and that creates a certain anomaly, a serious contradiction with the term Right. As per the viewpoint of Individual sovereignty and free citizenship in a society, our only rights are the rights to life, liberty, property and pursuit of happiness. That is, we are not born with a right to a trip to visit Taj Mahal, or a dinner at Hotel Taj or a cosmetic surgery or a degree in aeronautical engineering. Why cannot we have such rights? We cannot have such rights because the Individual Rights in a free society does not impose any obligation on other people except that of a negative obligation to leave the individual alone, to not to interfere with his life, to not to exploit his Rights. The Individual Rights guarantees you the freedom and chance to work and put efforts for what you want, rights are not to be given to you without any effort by somebody else. That is, you do not have a right to be fed, to be clothed, or to have a house, a car, an AC etc. Although, you have proper right to work and earn your living but you also have complete freedom to use your earning according to your wishes, you have a right to pursue your happiness. More clearly saying, one has the right to act and to keep the fruits of his actions, to produce and to keep his products or to trade them to others if he prefers. However, he has no right over the actions and products of others, except on the terms of which they voluntarily agree. That is, we all have a right to have a mutually beneficial deal voluntarily. Similarly, the right to the pursuit of happiness guarantees you the freedom and right to act to pursue your happiness and to be happy, to keep the results of your actions. It does not guarantee that other people will make you happy or will try to make you happy. If one’s desire for something imposes a duty on others to satisfy his desire, then the others have no choice in their life. They are merely slaves. One’s right to happiness at the expense of others means that the others become rightless slaves. Your right for anything at other’s expense means that the others become your rightless slaves.
The Immorality of Current Politicians
Just in order to gain a vote bank, politicians distorts the meaning of right. They say that you are entitled for something because it exists and you want it. You do not need to work for it or earn it; government should provide it to you. The question arises, from where will the government get it? What will the government do to the free individuals and their individual rights to make it possible to shower free gifts, free lunch, free education, free health-care etc on you?
Let us assume that tomorrow, government and politicians assert that you are born with a moral right to hair-care and that government will benevolently provide free hair-care services for all those who want it. Haircuts and shaving would be free. Some people will show up everyday for a new hair-style, eye-brow setting, beard and mustache setting, government will keep showering the governmental hair-saloons with more and more governmental funds collected by taxing middle class citizens. Every bald man would love to come to the governmental hair-saloon to have a hair seeding and implantation. Nobody would be bald and there will be as many hair styles as there are citizens in India. Government will govern the profession of barbers and they will make huge incomes, every second person would like to be a barber, there would be competitive examinations for Indian Barbers Services (IBS). The government will pay for all expenses. Obviously, there will be government schools and colleges providing specific training, certificates and degrees for professional barbers. Government will install a huge administration for the maintenance of the hair-cut sector. The dishonest barbers will make huge profits and so, will the honest one. They will work and spend like mad, trying to satisfy every second person’s desire regarding his hairs, which certainly can be a millions worth specific hair care and services. The budget will start going out of control, government will suffer the pressure to provide enough budgets to maintain the proper services for hair-care. Corruption will rise , soon government will start providing directives regarding hair cuts to control the budget, government will limit the number of barbers, the time spent for one hair-cut, government will start licensing an permitting only certain type of hair cuts, taking away the individual’s liberty regarding his own hairs. Government will start limiting the number of hairs a barber can split, the number of razors a barber can buy. There will be inspectors to check the corruption in governmental barber shops, there will be a new department just to keep records of barbers in a definite constituency and the profession of barbers will be thoroughly red-taped.
It is the case of education. Government controls the education sector and tries to establish education as a right. Obviously, government fails to provide any sort of education to the masses and whatever education it provides always remains way below the required standards. Also, government doesn’t produce the required resources for the provision of free lunch and free education, so who will pay for all that?
The rich people are very few in India and even if government snatches away all the property of the top 100 richest families of India, it cannot sustain the expenditures required for free education. So, who will pay for that? It is us, we poor and middle class people who pay as slave for the government’s immoral desire to provide free education through the taxation system. By stressing free education as a right, government makes all Indians as the slaves who are obligated to pay for the governmental education program without questioning anything about it. By befooling us by the term free education as an individual’s right, government robs us of our very basic right to earn and to hold the fruits and results of our work and efforts. Government taxes us and takes away our hard earned money an in return; we get nothing but a highly imperfect education system. There are no free lunches, but there are lunches being paid for by somebody else.
Conclusion: Rights does not confirm anything freely available for anybody at the expense of others. By terming education, or health-care, or free lunch as individual’s right, politicians try to enslave the public and rob them of their very basic individual right of life, liberty, property and pursuit of happiness. In a free society there can be only the right to live freely, to work and earn freely, to enjoy the produced an earned property freely and to pursue one’s happiness by furthering his efforts and results of his efforts freely. Other than the man’s free will, he has to earn everything honestly in a free society, no other one, not even government is obligated to feed, or cloth or educate him freely.