Capitalism and Consumerism

The Christmas shopping period – one of the busiest in the year for the retail industry – has begun with a starter pistol on so-called “Black Friday”, with the culmination due in the January sales. The period of celebration, feasting and gift-giving is critical to the annual revenue and profits of hundreds of consumer-facing industries, with the volume of spending increasing by more than 50% according to some estimates.

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How Fearsome is the State?

Together with other free marketeers, Austro-libertarians are adept at explaining the inefficient and destructive nature of the state. This compulsory aegis of taxation and redistribution destroys economic progress and the standard of living, siphoning off an increasing quantity of the fruits of our labour into vast bureaucracies. For our efforts, control and regulation of every aspect of our lives with a fine tooth-comb is all we can expect in return.

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Why Libertarianism is Different

recent article of mine concerning the libertarian approach towards rights over land was written in response to the raising of the topic on a discussion forum. A separate, recent thread on the same forum has brought up another interesting discussion concerning the nature of libertarianism itself. I will attempt to address this in full here.

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The Ministerial Merry-Go-Round

How Britain’s Wars at the Top Could Sow Distrust in the State

2022 has seen the upper echelons of the British state locked in a game of musical chairs – and we still have two months left to go. This has been the year of two monarchs, three prime ministers, four chancellors and three/four home secretaries (depending on how one counts Suella Braverman’s non-contiguous terms).

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Optimism for Liberty

Browsing through a single day’s worth of articles on the libertarian website lewrockwell.com is enough to confront one with a smorgasbord of despair:

  • The bankruptcy of Western nations and their collapsing economies;
  • Increasing wars and overseas intervention;
  • Desperation to maintain Western-led hegemony;
  • Increased state censorship and invasion of privacy;
  • The dangers of state-sponsored medicine and disease control;
  • Digital enslavement;
  • The lack of integrity of the political class; official lies and corruption.
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Let us Despair No More – A Reply to Laurence Hughes

In a recent guest article for Free Life, the composer Laurence Hughes lamented, on his seventieth birthday, his relative lack of success in a culture that is waning in appreciation for the kind of art he has dedicated his life to producing:

The disappointment and disillusionment is now complete. As far as I am concerned, there is nothing left to aspire to or strive for. I just can’t be bothered any more. I have had enough. What a massive waste of time and energy!

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Rich vs Poor – a False Dilemma

Conventional thinking about social, political and economic matters tends to narrow the options available to a set of policies advocated by two, possibly three political parties of scarcely dissimilar ideologies. Any genuinely radical approach concerning these topics is abandoned given that the fundamentals are deemed to be beyond question. Thus, alternatives to these entrenched matters – such as whether the state should have any positive role at all in anything – are seldom given the light of day, let alone the opportunity of being debated.

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The Choice Illusion

In the mainstream debate both for and against a free market, one notion that seems ubiquitous is that the free market is predicated upon individual choice. Consequently, those in favour of such a market are likely to argue that the more choice there is the greater the competition between firms, leading to increased economic efficiency as those firms seek to meet their customers’ needs for the lowest possible cost. On the other hand, opponents will counter that choice can be wasteful, costly, inefficient and overwhelming, particularly when it concerns supply of provisions as basic as water. They might suggest further that choice is often an illusion conjured up by private companies that basically operate in a profit-maximising cartel.

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Leave Me Out of It!

Debates between libertarians and those who advocate any kind of statist intervention frequently take the form of “X should happen vs. should not happen”. For example a budding libertarian might argue “the post office should be privatised!” whereas his opponent may cry “the post office should be state owned!”

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