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Anarchy Unbound, or: Why Self-Governance Works Better than You Think

His generalizations are child-like in their character and in their diversion from essential characteristics of the system he claims to have captured analytically. For Buchanan, there is no such thing as society long before Thatcher and it shows.

Winston Bush (Contributor of Anarchy, State and Public Choice)

A transparent farce. Obfuscatory in its essence. He is, in this sense, very much an egalitarian in outlook, and is in fact severely unpretentious and antielitist. But this included the establishment that controlled the United States economy. The robber barons were very real to me. There is no ready sign of an animosity towards the military-industrial-intelligence beast that gobbles up the bulk of the federal budget. There was a natural vehicle for Buchanan in this respect, with the establishment of Economists Against the Arms Race in the last days of the Cold War in which became Economists for Peace and Security , enlisting numerous heavyweights of the discipline.

No anti-statist libertarians joined up. And the privatized schools would be taxpayer-funded to boot. Rarely explicit, because conveyed in abstractions, in code, the orientation is nevertheless fully blown reactionary.

As much as anything else, it exposes not merely the venality but the profound and calculated ignorance of the Buchanan mob and the libertarians. With all these pro-business flunkies, venality and ignorance go hand in hand — the latter presumably assuaging their lack of conscience. The wages structure is formally presumed a product of the impersonal market mechanism spontaneous order again , the participants all involved in voluntary exchange.

The employer — employee relation is of the same character and is subject to the same impersonal laws as the selling and buying of a sack of potatoes. Employer property rights also claimed as violated by the Wagner Act are presumed a natural product of the same process.


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How the wage labor force was created historically and is reproduced is of no interest. Economists in general refuse to understand the basics of the employer-employee relation — which is why the issue has been forcibly moved elsewhere in academia. But they refuse to concede their absence of expertise. Industrial capitalism was born and thrived by appropriating and molding a pre-capitalist hierarchy — essentially that of master and servant.

Behavioral Economics Ep. 5: What You Need to Know About Public Choice - Learn Liberty

The US, supposedly free of old world structures, imported the culture and its law from England. Quoting Karen Orren pp. The problem then and now was the divide between the political realm increasingly open to the hoi polloi and the undemocratic realm of labor hiring and of the workplace. The American Federation of Labor labor aristocracy was self-conscious about the nature of the battle. QuotingWilliam Forbath p.

MODERATORS

Master-servant structures imposed by the courts were reinforced by violent repression of any worker or worker collectivity that declined to adhere to the rules. Belatedly, labor resistance in key areas gained concessions over several decades through establishment and assertion of collective bargaining. Significant sections of the American employer class, being used to the prerogatives of industrial feudalism, have never accepted the inroads into absolute employer prerogatives.

Thus followed the Taft-Hartley Act, right-to-work laws more obfuscation , and a hobbled National Labor Relations Board mercilessly attacked for its supposed anti-employer bias constraining labor to fighting over its right to be heard. The end of the post long boom and subsequent deindustrialization was accompanied by a surge of employer intimidation and bad faith in bargaining, now entrenched.

The worst features of current labor law — its favoring employer property rights over collective bargaining or the right to strike, its stringent limits on union access to employees while permitting employers to make captive audience speeches, its pitiful remedies against employer violations — are all cemented into the law. They are supported by generations of Supreme Court precedents and legislative acceptance.


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  4. The system of unequal access based on traditional property rights has by now been reaffirmed in four Supreme Court opinions. The Mackay doctrine [NLRB v Mackay Radio, ] permitting employers to hire permanent replacements during a strike has survived despite constant efforts to change or limit it by litigation or by Congressional amendment.

    Indeed, the doctrine has constantly been expanded. That has failed to happen, in part because the expertise of the Board is largely fictional. The Board has done little to acquire significant understanding; its doctrines have been relentlessly legalistic, its vision of employee behavior patronizing, and its opinions often more shaped by politics than by commitment to the goals of the Act.

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    The language of master and servant has disappeared. The untrammeled right to rule has essentially been reinstated. According to Buchanan, sometime around the turn of the century in the US, things started to go bad. Curious then that the glorious American 19 th Century was permeated by slavery and post-slavery Reconstruction , wage slavery and violent repression of dissent.

    Buchanan had a strong attraction to what he interpreted as classical liberalism. This idea, best enunciated by Adam Smith, is that extensive collective direction and control over activity is not required at all; that, with minimally invasive institutions that guarantee person, property and contract, persons can be left at liberty to make their own choices and, in so doing, generate maximal value.

    Here is the crudest possible parody of Smith. Classical liberalism is essentially a pre-democratic doctrine — indeed, anti-democratic.

    And deeply racist. The gradual introduction of the adult franchise helped to kill off classical liberalism on various home fronts. Losurdo notes p. Emancipation … might well be followed by dis-emancipation — that is, deprivation of the rights whose recognition and enjoyment the excluded had won. Thus the formation of the Liberty and Property Defence League in Buchanan claimed that there was no alternative to the impasse than to change the rules.

    For decades he pushed representative measures a constitutional amendment to require budget balance without success.

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    He even fancied a constitutional amendment to enforce free trade Essays , Ch. Good luck on that otherworldly dream. At least on home turf. The Review of Austrian Economics. This is an excellent book. Edward Stringham has collected a set of very helpful essays exploring the economics of bottom-up social organization—of anarchy. He includes a set of contributions originally made to two symposia in the early s, generally critical of anarchy as a social ideal, linking most with contemporary rejoinders.

    The founders of public choice economics, James Buchanan and Gordon Tullock, were among the contributors to the original symposia, both expressing doubts about the viability of anarchy. Literature documenting the rise and prevalence of the market order without the state and in antagonism to the state provides a muchneeded balance against the prevalent view that the state is the only means of escaping the Hobbesian jungle.

    Patrick Gunning believes that the state emerges because it enables gains from trade by acting as a necessarily coercive enforcer of contracts for nonrecurring transactions. Peter T. Leeson notes that many transactions are privately enforced by reputation and by actors who refuse to deal with contract violators; game theory evidence supports this fact. I add that the market has numerous other means to handle fidelity to large-scale contracts, including performance bonds, monitoring, insurance, joint venture, joint management, clearing houses, and vertical integration.

    Leeson observes that most contractual-type exchanges are in fact recurring, even if not with the same persons, owing to communication and reputation. Substantial evidence also points to both noncoercive and coercive third-party means of enforcement. James Buchanan posits unequal income in the jungle of all-against-all war, followed by agreement or law that improves the position of both the richer and the poorer. Virgil Storr argues that none of these cases has experimental conditions that correspond to those advocated by the likes of Murray Rothbard and Hans-Hermann Hoppe.

    The examples, he points out, are chaotic situations without the customary law that real societies generate. The issue is one of defining anarchy. Warren J.