Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 16

Thread: The question libertarians just canít answer

  1. #1
    Senior Member DiabloViejo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    12,580

    Question The question libertarians just canít answer

    TUESDAY, JUN 4, 2013 12:17 PM EDT

    The question libertarians just canít answer


    If your approach is so great, why hasnít any country anywhere in the world ever tried it?


    BY MICHAEL LIND

    http://www.salon.com/2013/06/04/the_...wer/singleton/







    Why are there no libertarian countries? If libertarians are correct in claiming that they understand how best to organize a modern society, how is it that not a single country in the world in the early twenty-first century is organized along libertarian lines?

    Itís not as though there were a shortage of countries to experiment with libertarianism. There are 193 sovereign state members of the United Nationsó195, if you count the Vatican and Palestine, which have been granted observer status by the world organization. If libertarianism was a good idea, wouldnít at least one country have tried it?

    Wouldnít there be at least one country, out of nearly two hundred, with minimal government, free trade, open borders, decriminalized drugs, no welfare state and no public education system?

    When you ask libertarians if they can point to a libertarian country, you are likely to get a baffled look, followed, in a few moments, by something like this reply: While there is no purely libertarian country, there are countries which have pursued policies of which libertarians would approve: Chile, with its experiment in privatized Social Security, for example, and Sweden, a big-government nation which, however, gives a role to vouchers in schooling.

    But this isnít an adequate response. Libertarian theorists have the luxury of mixing and matching policies to create an imaginary utopia. A real country must function simultaneously in different realmsódefense and the economy, law enforcement and some kind of system of support for the poor. Being able to point to one truly libertarian country would provide at least some evidence that libertarianism can work in the real world.

    Some political philosophies pass this test. For much of the global center-left, the ideal for several generations has been Nordic social democracyówhat the late liberal economist Robert Heilbroner described as ďa slightly idealized Sweden.Ē Other political philosophies pass the test, even if their exemplars flunk other tests. Until a few decades ago, supporters of communism in the West could point to the Soviet Union and other Marxist-Leninist dictatorships as examples of ďreally-existing socialism.Ē They argued that, while communist regimes fell short in the areas of democracy and civil rights, they proved that socialism can succeed in a large-scale modern industrial society.

    While the liberal welfare-state left, with its Scandinavian role models, remains a vital force in world politics, the pro-communist left has been discredited by the failure of the Marxist-Leninist countries it held up as imperfect but genuine models. Libertarians have often proclaimed that the economic failure of Marxism-Leninism discredits not only all forms of socialism but also moderate social-democratic liberalism.


    But think about this for a moment. If socialism is discredited by the failure of communist regimes in the real world, why isnít libertarianism discredited by the absence of any libertarian regimes in the real world? Communism was tried and failed. Libertarianism has never even been tried on the scale of a modern nation-state, even a small one, anywhere in the world.

    Lacking any really-existing libertarian countries to which they can point, the free-market right is reduced to ranking countries according to ďeconomic freedom.Ē Somewhat different lists are provided by the Fraser Institute in Canada and the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C.

    According to their similar global maps of economic freedom, the economically-free countries of the world are by and large the mature, well-established industrial democracies: the U.S. and Canada, the nations of western Europe and Japan. But none of these countries, including the U.S., is anywhere near a libertarian paradise. Indeed, the government share of GDP in these and similar OECD countries is around forty percentónearly half the economy.


    Even worse, the economic-freedom country rankings are biased toward city-states and small countries. For example, in the latest ranking of economic liberty by the Heritage Foundation, the top five nations are Hong Kong (a city, not a country), Singapore (a city-state), Australia, New Zealand and Switzerland (small-population countries).


    With the exception of Switzerland, four out of the top five were small British overseas colonies which played interstitial roles in the larger British empire. Even though they are formally sovereign today, these places remain fragments of larger defense systems and larger markets. They are able to engage in free riding on the provision of public goods, like security and huge consumer populations, by other, bigger states.


    Australia and New Zealand depended for protection first on the British empire and now on the United States. Its fabled militias to the contrary, Switzerland might not have maintained its independence for long if Nazi Germany had won World War II.


    These countries play specialized roles in much larger regional and global markets, rather as cities or regions do in a large nation-state like the U.S. Hong Kong and Singapore remain essentially entrepots for international trade. Switzerland is an international banking and tax haven. What works for them would not work for a giant nation-state like the U.S. (number 10 on the Heritage list of economic freedom) or even medium-sized countries like Germany (number 19) or Japan (number 24).


    And then there is Mauritius.


    According to the Heritage Foundation, the U.S. has less economic freedom than Mauritius, another small island country, this one off the southeast coast of Africa. At number 8, Mauritius is two rungs above the U.S., at number 10 in the global index of economic liberty.


    The Heritage Foundation is free to define economic freedom however it likes, by its own formula weighting government size, freedom of trade, absence of regulation and so on. What about factors other than economic freedom that shape the quality of life of citizens?


    How about education? According to the CIA World Fact book, the U.S. spends more than Mauritiusó5.4 percent of GDP in 2009 compared to only 3.7 percent in Mauritius in 2010. For the price of that extra expenditure, which is chiefly public, the U.S. has a literacy rate of 99 percent, compared to only 88.5 percent in economically-freer Mauritius.


    Infant mortality? In economically-more-free Mauritius there are about 11 deaths per 1,000 live birthsócompared to 5.9 in the economically-less-free U.S. Maternal mortality in Mauritius is at 60 deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to 21 in the U.S. Economic liberty comes at a price in human survival, it would seem. Oh, wellóat least Mauritius is economically free!
    Even to admit such trade-offsólike higher infant mortality, in return for less governmentówould undermine the claim of libertarians that Americans and other citizens of advanced countries could enjoy the same quality of life, but at less cost, if most government agencies and programs were replaced by markets and for-profit firms. Libertarians seem to have persuaded themselves that there is no significant trade-off between less government and more national insecurity, more crime, more illiteracy and more infant and maternal mortality, among other things.


    Itís a seductive visionóenjoying the same quality of life that todayís heavily-governed rich nations enjoy, with lower taxes and less regulation. The vision is so seductive, in fact, that we are forced to return to the question with which we began: if libertarianism is not only appealing but plausible, why hasnít any country anywhere in the world ever tried it?

    Michael Lind is the author of Land of Promise: An Economic History of the United States and co-founder of the New America Foundation.


  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Ballarat Australia
    Posts
    5,804
    TUESDAY, JUN 4, 2013 12:17 PM EDT

    The question DEMOCRATS just can’t answer

    If your approach is so great, why hasn’t any country anywhere in the world ever tried it?

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    South Florida
    Posts
    8,293
    I don't think your question's premise is incorrect.

    Cf: the New Deal, the aftermath of WW II in the created world structures (UN, World Bank, IMF), and the prosperity of the post-war years, through to the great economic boom times of the '60s. A long Democratic Party policy-led period of history, remarkable for the economic advancement over decades.

    If OUR experience isn't enough for those decades, consider the still more social welfare states of Western Europe.
    A medium sized fish [...]

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Ballarat Australia
    Posts
    5,804
    I meant democracy, ie that democracy haznt ever been tryd anywhere -- except praps in greece in the oldendays.
    mac.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    20,878
    Quote Originally Posted by cushioncrawler View Post
    TUESDAY, JUN 4, 2013 12:17 PM EDT

    The question DEMOCRATS just can’t answer

    If your approach is so great, why hasn’t any country anywhere in the world ever tried it?
    That's easy to answer. Most countries can't pull it off due to their massive masculine ignorance and hate, gross corruption and greed by the wealthy top who steal from the rest, oppress their people, attack minorities, women, annd homosexuals. Same thing Repiglicans are tryng to accomplish right here right now, but they will fail in the long run.

    Why do we have more people tryng to get into America, than any other country, Mac, because America is no good, as you so often suggest???

    And why do you say, Democrats?

    The united States is a Democracy, given A democracy is any country whose government consists of representatives elected by the people.

    Some people insist that we are ONLY a Republic, but that is not true, we are a Republican, but or form of government is a Democracy.

    The Supreme Court and the Repiglican Party are trying to turn us into a fascist plutocracy.

    Numerous Repiglican Presidents have damaged our Democracy, particuclarly Nixon, Reagan, and both Bush's, and The Repiglican majority in the Supreme Court, AND the current repiglican Party, but their approval numbers are in the ditch, and will remain there, until we turn their failed policies around.

    However, Democracy will win in the end, as it always has, and always will, IMO, and we will return to "A new nation, dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal," and we will prove that Government by The People, of the people and for the people, shall long endure, as it already has for a very long time now.

    We are only being temporily damaged by misogynistic, homophobic, racists, the Repiglicans, but they are less popular than root canals, and roaches, hence, changes will come, and we will restore our country to its former glory, pre-Nixon/Reagan/Bush/Bush.

    So why did you use the word, "Democrats" in your statement? The Democratic Party stands for equality. Equal rights under the law. WE are not the party which destroys the principles of Democracy.

    G.

    G.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Ballarat Australia
    Posts
    5,804
    Gayle -- i hadta uze the word democrats koz it hadta sit with the word libertarians, ie in the initial question. I would hav liked to hav uzed democracy, ie a form of government, but kood only hav uzed that word if the initial question had the word libertarianizm.
    The Democratic Party iz of course called Democrats for short, ie a party, or a member of that party.
    mac.

    Oxford Dictionary.
    Democrat -- an adherent or advocate of democracy......

    Anyhow, my point woz that no system haz been tryed yet, ie there iz no such thing az democracy, or libertarianizm, or communizm etc.
    Except praps that natives all over the world were/are probly communist -- eg ozzie aborigines were communist for say 50,000 years and were then skrewed by a democracy (England) in about 50 years.
    Praps Greece had a good democracy in the oldendays before they were skrewed by Rome -- dunno.
    mac.
    Last edited by cushioncrawler; 06-13-2013 at 05:36 PM.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    20,878
    Mac,
    There are communist countries. AND America IS a Republic Democracy, and will continue to be so until voting and elections no longer exist.

    We are a Representative Democracy.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Sev's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    State of Franklin.
    Posts
    9,608
    Representative republic is the correct usage.



    There isn't anything wrong with America that liberal ideology, properly applied by government experts, can't make worse.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Sev's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    State of Franklin.
    Posts
    9,608
    As far as to the answer to the OP question.

    There was never a representative republic such as exists in the USA until its founding.

    The answer is very simple.

    Its time has not come yet.



    There isn't anything wrong with America that liberal ideology, properly applied by government experts, can't make worse.

  10. #10
    Senior Member DiabloViejo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    New Jersey, USA
    Posts
    12,580
    Quote Originally Posted by Sev View Post
    As far as to the answer to the OP question.

    There was never a representative republic such as exists in the USA until its founding.

    The answer is very simple.

    Its time has not come yet.

    Yeah, we're all really looking forward to it!



Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •