Sunday, October 16, 2011

Republicans and businessmen

Here is, finally, a Republican explaining true free market principles (the link is here). I listened to the whole Bloomberg debate from the other night. All of the other Republicans (beside Ron Paul) were touting the virtues of having private sector experience, claiming this makes them better equipped (than Obama) to "manage the economy."

Let's think about that for a moment. Do we need businessmen with their experience "managing" the economy?

No. In the first place, the government is not a business, as Ron Paul expresses quite well. Its purpose is not to maximize profit. Its purpose is to execute impartial justice and protect the American people. It sounds so sensible and even conservative to insist that government ought to act more like a business and balance its budget. But the important thing actually is not balancing its budget, but minimizing coercion.

In the second place, businessmen are likely to be biased toward businesses. "Corporate welfare" is no less part of big government policies than actual welfare. Who wins when the government gives big bailouts? The "little guy"? In the sense that he may not have to change his current employment, maybe...but in terms of justice it is, of course, the rich and powerful who benefit at the expense of the poor when government "manages the economy." And in the long run this management will make us all poorer than we otherwise would have been.

It is a myth that supporters of the free market must be people who appreciate business sense and buy into the attitudes of business culture. It is often quite the opposite. If businessmen are allowed to use political means to pursue their own interests, this is a perversion of justice and not a free market. Political means are coercive. The only legitimate market means for making a profit are non-coercive activities.

That Republicans are generally the party of businessmen makes them less, not more, attractive to a free market libertarian.

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