Monday, January 12, 2009

I haven't forgotten Kevin Carson

If I'm not mistaken The Center for a Stateless Society is new. The website, anyway. Kevin says here:
I think this highlights the problems of equating “capitalism” to “the free market.” In neoliberal orthodoxy, supposedly, labor and capital are just coequal “factors of production.” So why name an economic system after one of the factors of production, in particular? What we’re seeing is that, beneath the ideological veneer of “free contract” and all the rest of it, some “factors of production” are more equal than others. That’s why, when Costco pays its workers above-average wages for the retail industry, business analysts squirm with the same undisquised moral disapproval that some people reserve for diamond-studded dog collars. But when a Bob Nardelli or Carly Fiorina gets a retirement package worth tens or hundreds of millions, after gutting their companies to massage the quarterly numbers and game their own bonuses and stock options, that’s just the way “our free enterprise system” rewards them for “the value they created.”

What the politicians and journalists are for, behind all the “pro-market” rhetoric, isn’t the market at all. It’s the interests of capital.

What we need is the genuine article: a free market without special privileges or artificial scarcity, without subsidies and corporate welfare, and without market entry barriers and other protections against competition. Of course, if we had that kind of free market, there wouldn’t even be a General Motors.

I read somebody the other day who was astounded at the apparent Georgist tone of one of Kevin's articles. I was astounded that the guy was astounded. I believe Kevin considers his system to be an advance upon Georgism.

Oop! Better see what this says, before I say that.

Update: yup, that's worth reading. Kevin's not a Georgist, though he's content with many of their insights. Here is a really good defense of Georgism.

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