Left Outside

An Open Letter to Libertarians and Socialists

A spectre is haunting the blogosphere – the spectre of Libertarianism.

Nothing would please me more than to give in to its haunting charms. Libertarianism is neat, it is consistent and it is beautiful. Its economics are marvellously simple; a tidy web of self-interested individuals reaching an equilibrium and prospering.

People can exchange what they have earned for what others have created, and through this voluntary exchange everyone ends up even more prosperous than before. Ad infinitum.

When pure, Libertarianism is consistent too; drugs are yours, as is sex and smoking indoors, so long as you don’t coerce anyone to get hold of them.

Those “without” go with what charity can provide. Those “with” keep it, because there are no grounds for removing it; you own yourself and what you produce. Because when people are free they produce fabulous wealth those without become less and less numerous, and the burden on charity becomes less and less burdensome.

However, like a rubber sheet loaded with a lead ball, Government distorts and tangles this beautiful web, drawing prosperity towards its own centres of gravity and will eventual tear a hole in it.

The only thing that’s warns me away from this beautiful web is the overwhelming body of evidence in favour of Socialism.

Libertarians

Now that I’ve set up the straw man, it is time to flesh him out so that I can explain what I really mean.

As mentioned at LibCon, some people really don’t get Libertarianism and I don’t want to talk about morons like Roger Helmer – Bella Gerens explains what a real Libertarian is to her. No, it is Charlotte Gore, our humble Devil, Mr Eugenides, Tim Worstall and The Economist that I need to challenge.

First things first

The economics of Libertarianism are not what got us here. The world is fabulously but it isn’t the free market that got us here, it was a hobbled, chained and unfree market.

England, Hong Kong, Singapore. I’ll admit that these are the places which got to where they were mostly by the free market, however each is unique in its own way and has little to teach us.

Germany, America, South Korea – in fact, the rest of the rich world – got to where it is today by ignoring Libertarian fantasies and by embracing some form of blatant non-market intervention. This is where there are lessons for those that really need them.

Germany didn’t lead the second industrial revolution when the state “got out the way.” It became an industrial leader when state created entrepreneurs set up businesses and state sanctioned banks created credit for strategic industries.

America is not a free trade nation and never has been, it is the home and bastion of protectionism. It built up its industries not in competition with Britain, but with intense protection from her output.

South Korea’s firms did not compete against each other under the careful eye of a night-watchman state. These firms were arranged into giant chaebols, they were infected with nepotism and were deep in the pockets of Government, yet it produced one of the great miracles of the 20th Century.

Property Rights

In an argument atypical, perhaps anathema, to some Libertarians Tim Worstall argues that…

…creators have rights over their creations because we want to encourage the next creator to create. Nobody gives a damn how much effort goes into creating something, the labour used or indeed any other resource used. All we actually care about is encouraging more people to create more things: and to do so we reward those who have created.

In essence, Tim’s argument is that intellectual property rights – and by extension, all property rights – need to be protected because they make us all better off. By working backwards from results to the system which yields them, Tim gives us the classic Libertarian argument that respect for property makes us richer.

This argument is well worn, although usually presented in a completely different. For most Libertarians property rights are sacred because what you produce is yours, and what you buy with that is as much yours as if you produced it yourself. Tim inserts the proviso that it is also the best way to get the results we all want.

However it is not nearly this simple, sometimes property rights can get in the way of wealth creation, no simple Libertarian rationale will cure what ails us.

Enclosure involved stealing land from those who owned it in common. Yet it helped kick start the greatest wealth creation in human history.

Ignoring or not granting patents on medication has helped increase the quality of life for millions of Indians, and others around the world. The research into treatments and cures continues.

Directing tax revenue towards strategic industries can be beneficial. When the tax revenue of South Koreans was directed towards the manufacture of Microwaves it was neither an area they specialised in nor one which returned a profit. However, they soon became market leaders and the welfare of all was increased.

Property rights don’t need to be treated as a sacrament, in fact it can be damaging to do so.

Beyond Economics…

… Libertarians are generally right.

  • Huffing on a crack pipe? Your choice, a drug’s illegality only makes it more harmful.
  • Girls Aloud murder porn? Your choice, banning it only drives it underground.
  • Smoking in a pub? Your choice, surely this one doesn’t need an explanation.
  • Want a divorce? I won’t force you into a “cooling down period.”
  • Fancy a pint or ten? Sod it, I’m heading to the bar myself, I’ll get them in.

So long as you don’t hurt anyone else, do as you like. But for not one second does the evidence suggest this is a good guiding principle when it comes to economics.

The evidence around us in  points to a system of economics and a vision of the good society that is markedly differnt from that presented to us by Mises or Hannan.

And the Socialist shall lie down with the Lambertarian

Socialism as I understand it, is the only way to a better material existence and a more free life for all of us. A smaller state can be compatible with Socialism, and social liberalism has long gone hand in hand with the left, Socialism is not anathema to what Libertarians want. So join us.

This is our rallying cry. Bloggers have nothing to lose but the chains of an ideologically consistent viewpoint. They have evidence based policy to win!

EMPIRICALLY MINDED SOCIALISTS OF THE WORLD, UNITE!

Socialists

Mr Eugenides, Devil’s Kitchen, Tim Worstall (you’re a classical liberal, I know, but sadly there’s no CLPUK), Charlotte Gore, Thomas Byrne, Dave Semple, Chris Dillow, Paul Sagar, Paul Cotterill, A Very Public Sociologist, Will Straw, Paul Krugman and Steven Levitt you are my favourite Socialists and Libertarians and this letter is directed towards you. Discuss.

Further Reading: A Memorandum to Libertarians and Socialists: Part One

Even Further Reading: A Memorandum to Libertarians and Socialists: Part Two

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48 Responses - Comments are closed.

  1. Jennie says:

    I think you’re a dead man. Charlotte doesn’t do the S-word.

    • leftoutside says:

      I know what you mean, I think I may have bitten off a little more than I can chew…

      Maybe I’m doing the blogosphere a favour. Charlotte has been fairly quiet recently, maybe I can tempt her out.

    • Keith Gardner says:

      anarcho-capitalism is socialism for the rich. socialism is anarcho-capitalism for the rich.

      the question not answered is the land question and to a lesser degree the monetary question and corporate question.

      there is public or unearned wealth (rent – land) and there is earned wealth (income and interest – labor and capital). monetary expansion necessary to prevent deflation and interest on money creation (debt-based) or commodity-based (land) money falls in the category of unearned or public wealth. corporatism is a mixed system where a business is in theory held by shareholders but in reality controlled by a few who have limited liability. it is also able to draw large amounts of earned wealth under the control of a few to monopolize land and natural resources despite property taxation, creating a corporate slave labor class much like the tenant farmer.

      henry george is a good start. have fun with the truth.

  2. [...] An Open Letter to Libertarians and Socialists « Left Outside leftoutside.wordpress.com/2009/10/20/an-open-letter-to-liberarians-and-socialists-why-i-am-not-a-libertarian – view page – cached Left Outside is always worth a read for passionate, and frequently irreverent, analysis and comment. — From the page [...]

  3. leftoutside says:

    Who is skorbin? What is this Reddit stuff people use to slag me off behind my back?

    http://www.reddit.com/r/socialism/comments/9w1lu/an_open_letter_to_libertarians_and_socialists/

    An essay on classical liberalism by a man who has never heard of libertarian socialism.

    Yes I have, I think what you’ll find I more or less advocate is Libertarian Socialism. But this post was already 1000 words long without me going into Socialism minutiae.

    That’s what the left needs, to be more self-referential(!)

  4. Paul Sagar says:

    “Smoking in a pub? Your choice, surely this one doesn’t need an explanation.”

    “So long as you don’t hurt anyone else, do as you like. ”

    Er, there’s a long-standing Millian argument that you can ban smoking in pubs because it does hurt other people…

    Aside from that, not a bad post.

    Though Tim’s view on property rights etc is a pretty parochial one, and in its consequentialist bent is likely to isolate a lot of “deontological” libertarians, who want to talk about self-ownership and rights.

    Furthermore, it’s also not a very good one: we manifestly do care more than about creating more things. If the whole world was suddenly, magically, given over to creating new types of ingenious chocolate teapots which didn’t (!!) melt when filled with water, but in the process all the world’s oil and gas and trees were used up and the planet overheated…well I think we would all care.

    Yes, creation – and encouraging others to create – is important. But it’s hardly the only value. And nor is it an absolute one; as the last, er, x thousand years have shown, people go on creating even in the face of oppression and lack of opportunity. Hence, in some modern scenarios, it might be deemed acceptable to limit property rights – and what people can do with those property rights – in order to promote some other values, safe in the knowledge that lots of creation will still go on (even if we grant Tim’s premise that there won’t be as much).

    As for Charlotte Gore, I know she calls herself a “libertarian”, but her brand of “libertarianism” is more to do with a vague predeliction for small state, low taxes, and not really the sort of thought-out, philosophical libertarianism you are identifying here. And christ on earth knows why she thinks that makes the Lib Dems the best party for her, when frankly the Tories would be a much better option…

  5. Paul Sagar says:

    Also, I don’t think I’m a socialist.

    We can settle for “liberal egalitarian”, for now.

    Still, far closer to your camp than theirs

  6. Jeff says:

    So what happens when I can’t afford crack because the socialist govt took all my money??

    While it is true that there will be have-nots under truly free markets that is largely their own choice. If you don’t wish to do what it takes to earn a living then too bad for you. If you’re incapable of doing so I’m sure you can sucker someone into feeling sorry enough for you to support you WILLINGLY AND OF THEIR OWN VOLITION. Even today American’s are still the most generous people in the world.

    So toughen up and leave my crack money alone.

  7. nobody says:

    > Even today American’s are still the most generous people in the world.

    I looked into this once. The figures quoted include drug profits that return to the ME and south America as “remittances” and thus count as ‘overseas aid’.

    I think that if you normalise for wealth and population you end up being wrong.

  8. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Reddit by skobrin: An essay on classical liberalism by a man who has never heard of libertarian socialism….

  9. [...] argument doesn’t work: America is not a free trade nation and never has been, it is the home and bastion of [...]

  10. Thomas Byrne says:

    Can we not have a ‘People of the world, unite against the corporations?’.

    I differ from Tim in that I don’t believe in limited liability (The cause of so so many problems) and am very sceptical indeed at IP which he’s eager to defend.

    • leftoutside says:

      There is a great deal which Libertarians and Socialists share. Anti-corporate bailouts, anti-finance favouritism, anti-social conservatism – a great deal where we differ too.

      I’m just trying to kick off some debate and make some Libertarians question their beliefs.

      So far Tim Worstall has argued Free Trade isn’t that important, or that it only needs to be a bit “free.” He seems a little muddled for someone who is usually so straight talking.

  11. Santtu says:

    I’m actually laughing out loud.

    “– overwhelming body of evidence in favour of Socialism.” :D

    Good job.

  12. Martin says:

    Much of this rings true to me. I have long held that socialism operated on a voluntary basis is both perfectly possible and consistent with my libertarian views.

  13. donpaskini says:

    “England, Hong Kong, Singapore. I’ll admit that these are the places which got to where they were mostly by the free market, however each is unique in its own way and has little to teach us.”

    That is England as in ‘got rich through hundreds of years of having an empire’, Hong Kong which is run by the Chinese Communist Party and Singapore as in the country which is ranked as being ‘partly free’ by Freedom House and ‘having a mix of authoritarian and democratic elements’ by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

    The only place which got to where it is mostly by the free market is Libertopia.

  14. Martin says:

    “So long as you don’t hurt anyone else, do as you like. But for not one second does the evidence suggest this is a good guiding principle when it comes to economics.”

    Although I must ask where this arbitrary distinction between civil and economic liberty comes from; how you decide what falls on which side of the argument; you mention drugs but how is that NOT both civil and economic factors in play? I don’t see how advocating non violence in some parts of life can be seen as a good thing, but it’s suddenly ok to advocate coercive force in others?

  15. Mr Potarto says:

    “Ignoring or not granting patents on medication has helped increase the quality of life for millions of Indians, and others around the world. The research into treatments and cures continues.”

    And do you think that would continue if you extended that approach across the whole World? If I shoplift then I increase my quality of life. If everyone shoplifts, the stores close and we all suffer.

    “England, Hong Kong, Singapore. I’ll admit that these are the places which got to where they were mostly by the free market”

    “Socialism as I understand it, is the only way to a better material existence and a more free life for all of us.”

    Do these two sentences not contradict each other?

  16. bellagerens says:

    So long as you don’t hurt anyone else, do as you like. But for not one second does the evidence suggest this is a good guiding principle when it comes to economics.

    So when it comes to economics, it’s okay to harm others?

    However it is not nearly this simple, sometimes property rights can get in the way of wealth creation, no simple Libertarian rationale will cure what ails us.

    Dispossessing a few for the good of the many is one of the core problems libertarians have with socialism. Not because it doesn’t create wealth (indeed, you’ve shown that sometimes it does), but because it’s a dangerous attitude – quite often it leads to the practice of dispossessing any person in the name of the nebulous ‘common good.’ And we’ve yet to discover a perfect way of identifying the common good, though we’ve managed to discover a multitude of ways in which the idea can be harnessed as a justification for just about any encroachment on liberty.

    Essentially, you’ve put the cart before the horse here. (Most) libertarians don’t advocate the free market because it enables liberty or wealth creation. They advocate it because it is the only economic system consistent with their prioritisation of individual freedom. Perhaps it doesn’t create as much wealth as mixed economies (though many would dispute your argument about that), but in the end, wealth creation is only a secondary goal of libertarianism.

    Many of us would probably forego extra wealth in exchange for true individual autonomy. Happily, however, many of us are also convinced by the Mises/Hayek argument that a free market, did it really exist, would end in far more ‘wealth creation’ than mixed economies ever have.

  17. England got it’s wealth through free trade? I’d dust off your copy of “Kicking Away the Ladder” and check that one.

    • leftoutside says:

      I’m writing a response now but I want to say that I love that book. I’m a Ha-Joon Changite.

      I don’t want to suggest it got there through free trade. But freeish markets and freeish trade were key players in England’s successes.

      Far more than for the USA or Japan for example.

  18. What Bella said. I’d also add that this…

    “Enclosure involved stealing land from those who owned it in common.”

    … is easily explained by the concept of the Tragedy of the Commons. The point being that, in the example you cite, no one really owns the land—everyone owning it means that no one really owns it.

    “Ignoring or not granting patents on medication has helped increase the quality of life for millions of Indians, and others around the world. The research into treatments and cures continues.”

    Yes, but for how long. Right now, patients in the US subsidise that drug development through higher prices (but quicker availability); then people in the rest of the Developed World pay a higher price than those in the Developing World.

    Actually, of course, you will find that—in many cases—the Western governments pay the drug companies in order to for them to ignore the patents.

    And, crucially, this only occurs on a very few drugs. If the patents on all drugs were ignored, you would find that development would stop very quickly.

    DK

  19. As for Charlotte Gore, I know she calls herself a “libertarian”, but her brand of “libertarianism” is more to do with a vague predeliction for small state, low taxes, and not really the sort of thought-out, philosophical libertarianism you are identifying here.

    You made me lol.

  20. [...] An Open Letter to Libertarians and Socialists [...]

  21. Sunny says:

    Hold on, since when did Tim Worstall become a libertarian?

  22. Tim Worstall says:

    If I might just point out that my argument above about property is an extract, aimed very much at a defence of IP.

    It’s actually an anti-free market argument as well. For we recognise that without IP there won’t be rewards for those who create public goods like new knowledge or creations thus we deliberately rig the market so that those rewards are available.

    It’s even a textbook case of where markets fail and we intervene to correct the failure.

    As to chocolate teapots: Paul’s making teh assumption that we would all want them more than we want forests. A bizarre assumption really.

  23. Right, when you say, “socialism” what do you actually mean? Do you mean state invention in the economy?

    • leftoutside says:

      I’m at work so I’ll be brief

      Part of the time, certainly, in this piece especially.

      More generally I use it to mean, basically, worker’s control and worker’s gaining a fair share of the value of their labour. I’m also with Dillow on the Socialists for a smaller state (and I’d argue you have to be a social liberal to be a proper Socialist too). Workers should get a fair price for their labour at the point of paying, getting a shit wage and a wodge of benefits to make it up just doesn’t really cut it for me.

      Here I’ve used it as more of a catch all for things Libertarians don’t like and which a lot of Socialists advocate. Which is a little dishonest but it covers a multitude of sins.

      For example, there is nothing Socialist about Tariffs, but the US, Germany, Tsarist Russia, India and China have all used them to raise living standards within their borders, by encouraging industrialisation which wouldn’t have happened otherwise. Socialists tend to be the only ones advocating it.

      There’s not much Socialist about the theft of Intellectual Property. Although Socialists tend to hold that it can occasionally be justifiable.

      I also think that a mixed economy, a very mixed economy, is more productive, more efficient and more just. I think there is more middle ground between Libertarians and Socialists, than between Libertarians and small c conservatives and liberals.

      This is still a bit airy fairy, but part of the reason for starting this blog was to get my political house in order and write down my beliefs. Hope you like all that.

    • leftoutside says:

      Meh, like I said, I was brief and not particularly enlightening.

      In this piece, I have tried to highlight evidence which is very anomalous for Libertarians.

      For example a protectionist USA becoming a superpower. An interventionist 19th Century Germany becoming a great power. South Korea’s magnificent rise, from a country which in 1950 had half the GDP of ghana, to one which is one of the wealthiest in the world.

      So Socialism for me can at times be quite broadly defined. I think state intervention can be both capitalist and socialist, so it really is what sort of intervention it is, and what its aims are.

      The EU’s CAP is a capitalist state intervention – or an intervention on behalf of capitalists, of course very different, but definitely not Socialism, no matter what some on the right want to tar us with.

      However, protectionism which exists to encourage he establishment of a domestic coffee roasting export industry in a country which has traditionally only ever exported raw coffee would be Socialist (I consider this to be an industrial strategy with a pedigree, with a good chance of working, I expect us to disagree).

      This is a fairly conservative Socialism, I’m quite frustrated with the poverty in the world and although I like the look and feel of free trade, it won’t get me the results I want.

      A more accurate description of what I want “Socialism” to be will include workers control and the intervention of a democratic state in the markets for land, labour and money.

      Also see my memo. I will be working on a further response tonight and tomorrow.

      Please send more questions my way, I’ve never has so much material to work on!

  24. I have lived for most of my life in countries grappling with different forms of socialism (communist Yugoslavia, apartheid S Africa) or trying to escape from it (post-communist Russia, post-war Bosnia, post-Milosevic Serbia, post-communist Poland).

    So I feel qualified to say that your arguments are, er, scrawny.

    As Tim Worstall points out, markets can not do everything, so there is a case for some sort of collective agreement to set some better rules. But then what?

    The deep problem with socialist thinking in the way it invariably translates into practice is that it leads to state-dominated oppression on a massive scale. Socialists like to try to wriggle out of the Stalin/Mao/N Korea examples as if they were ‘aberrations’. But on the contrary, they exemplify what happens when the idea of the state as opposed to the individual is taken to its logical conclusion.

    Yugoslavia tried ‘workers control’ for many years and what a farce that was (I was there – were you?). It failed because it dared not allow ‘workers’ to break up a failing enterprise and use the pieces to set up new private businesses on a scale that was actually successful. It limited market entry. It suppressed competition. assumed that wage labour was pernicious exploitation, thereby instituting state control as a new form of exploitation. It had no flexibility. It ran up huge debts borrowed from the West, and could not pay them back. Result? Ethnic War.

    The other point is that all market-socialistic states (such as Sweden and others in Europe) benefit from the innovation and energy coming from countries with freer market economies. Take that away and their ‘success’ would look much less impressive?

    Ultimately it’s all about information management. The more the state or the workers or any one category of people/organisation try to limit options, the harder it is for new ideas and innovation to circulate. Human potential shrivels. You might say that some sort of lumpen Equity is the uber-value, and that lower human potential is a price worth paying.

    The question then is Lenin’s Kto Kogo? Who decides that balance?

    All evidence suggests (including the thousands of new offences created by New Labour) that beyond a fairly limited level, state-socialist control becomes a dysfunctional moral and political calamity.

  25. anticant says:

    In an ideal world, everyone would be a responsibly self-activating anarchist paying due regard to others’ needs as well as their own, and there would be no call for external control. But we don’t live in an ideal world – as Kant said, nothing straight can be made from the crooked timber of humanity – so a measure of involuntary government is necessary. Libertarians seek to restrict this to the minimum, and to limit the power of others over the individual because, as Lord Acton pointed out, all power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts absolutely, and great men are almost always bad men.

    Socialism is in its own way as idealistic as anarchism, but tends to the opposite extreme. However benign in its inception, it inevitably proliferates over-anxious supervision and control, and ends by severely restricting, if not totally abolishing, personal liberty of choice and action. This results in social impoverishment.

    In today’s real world, government is a complex business, and calls for realism, integrity, and pragmatic flexibility – all of which are sadly lacking at the moment. The question of the best form of economic organisation should not be approached from an ideological standpoint, but strictly in terms of the most likely results in the light of past experience. In practice, a mixed economy usually works best – sometimes with more central co-ordination and direction, as in wartime, and at other times with less. Clinging on to dogmas such as globalisation, free trade, state ownership, or privatisation as being always correct in principle misses the point. Circumstances change, and frameworks should be adaptable. In the 1930s, Britain recovered, too slowly and too late, from the Depression by abandoning free trade and instituting a moderate measure of protection for essential industries – a policy which was fiercely opposed by committed free traders. Their global vision was ethically admirable, but ill-suited for the times.

    To sum up, we must always be willing to explore new solutions while taking care not to sacrifice some sections of our national community to the advantage of others. Internationally, we must protect our own legitimate interests whilst endeavouring to deal fairly and honestly with others. No political arrangements, however widely canvassed, can be written in stone or last for ever. In a dangerous world, flexibility of thought and action must be our watchword.

  26. [...] and Socialists: Part Three Posted on November 1, 2009 by leftoutside In response to my Open Letter, Thomas Byrne asked if Libertarians and Socialists could not unite behind the slogan “People of [...]

  27. Derek Wall says:

    two words Elinor Ostrom!

  28. Curtis Kastens says:

    Murray Rothbard, Lew Rockwell, and Ron Paul type Libertaians could certainly unite behind an anti imperialist bring the troops home now policy.
    Libertarians see US imperialism as a betrayal of free market principles. Socialists see imperialism as the application of “free market” principles. In the short run it does not make any difference which view one takes. In the longer run both types of societies could keep sliding into imperialistic foreign polices over and over again. There is nothing in the libertarian ideology that stops people who have acquired great economic wealth form using that wealth to deceive large numbers of people and recruit mercenaries, if need be, assuming that there is no state to co opt, to go and attack people who they have demonized for personal gain. In fact game theory pretty much guarantees that it will happen.
    Like wise with socialism, if the people or the rulers of the state do not have an international outlook they too will be tempted to use any advantages that they collectively have to enrich themselves at the expense of weaker societies.
    The difference that I see is that socialism breeds empathy were as libertarianism breeds selfishness. Selfishness in and of it self is not bad. It is an imbalance of selfishness and empathy that is bad. It is much harder to have too much empathy.

  29. Curtis Kastens says:

    The above should read …..unite with socialists behind a policy of anti- imperialism.

  30. ChristmasCarol says:

    ‘the overwhelming body of evidence in favour of Socialism.’

    Is the Spanish unemployment rate of 20% (April 2010) evidence for or against Socialism? What is the Socialist ideal concerning work?
    To stay home and watch TV because no job is good enough for me anyway?

    Spanish unemployment rate over time

    * At the end of Franco’s right-wing dictatorship: 1976 unemployment 4%

    * Centrist government 1976-1982.
    By 1982 unemployment: 15%

    * Socialist government 1982-1996.
    By 1996 unemployment: 23%.

    * Centre-right government 1996-2004.
    By 2004 unemployment: 12%

    * Socialist government 2004-2010.
    By April 2010 unemployment: 20%

    Do we see a pattern there?

    • leftoutside says:

      Of course latvia and ireland are doing much better…

      Perhaps simplistic example mongering isn’t the best way to settle this argument or respond to my polemic.

  31. ChristmasCarol says:

    I am not familiar with the history of Latvia and Ireland, the crucial point being, have they had like Spain long periods of Socialist Party government?

    I don’t see what’s wrong with looking at Spain, it’s a perfect illustration really; if socialist policies are not creating unemployment in Spain, then what is?

    • leftoutside says:

      The euro.

      Idiot.

      • leftoutside says:

        Sorry, that was rude.

        They have an overvalued currency and an understimulative monetary policy because the ECB are bad capitalists.

        • ChristmasCarol says:

          Exchange rates have very little to do with employment. If anything, ‘a strong currency is the mark of a strong government and a strong economy’ as Gordon Brown himself used to say.

          Even if the euro was responsible for higher unemployment in a country, it would still not explain the Spanish case because as you can see in the period from 1996 to 2004, during the centre-right government, the unemployment rate declined to 12%. Further, in the 1982-1996 period (Socialist government) the unemployment rate was very, very high even though the euro had not been introduced yet.

          Lastly, the ECB monetary policy is the same in all euro states and is not causing 20% unemployment in any country apart from Spain.

          When you speak of an understimulative monetary policy, you really speak like a true socialist and keynesian. The reality is that a loose monetary policy does not make an economy healthier. Taken to the extreme a loose monetary policy means hyperinflation and mass pauperisation. This is well documented. Even a moderately loose monetary policy is harmful since it reduces the value of people’s savings and encourages companies and individuals to take risky investment decisions.

          I do agree that ECB are bad capitalists, the Bank of England being even worse in my opinion.

          So in your point of view Socialism has absolutely no effect in terms of reducing incentives for companies to hire and incentives for individuals to work. If there’s unemployment somewhere, anywhere, it’s the fault of monetary policy and the use of a common currency.

          I think that the unemployment rate is a good index for how much Socialism a country has. The more Socialist initiatives are present, the higher the unemployment rate.

  32. Mr S. Pill says:

    Ooh I’d not read this before. Gotta say I agree with most (all?) of it. Thinking of writing a bit o’ pro-libertarian socialism stuff myself soonish. Y’know, ‘smoke where you want as long as it’s a fair trade/unionised workforce produced cigarette’ ! ;) heh.

  33. Libertarian socialism already exists, but it’s not what you’d think. It’s a form of anarchism, as are most left-libertarian ideologies (which, BTW, are more numerous than you’d think).

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Left Outside by Left Outside is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.
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Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://wp.me/PvyGQ-gt.

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