Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A Third and a Fourth Reason Libertarian Societies Must Fail

A Third and Fourth Reason Libertarian Societies Must Fail

We previously presented two social problems libertarian societies are incapable of solving.  The first is the producer-consumer problem:  Without a compulsive mechanism to continually, or at least periodically, redistribute demand, that is, a government capable of effective taxation, the net consumers, (which is to say, those who actually allocate consumption,)  end up with all the money, and the producers end up decapitalized.  The second is the bully problem:  In the absence of a government, there is no mechanism to prevent the strong from victimizing the weak. 

A third reason is the necessity to regulate competition among the powerful.  The problem here is that, among the powerful, there are two incompatible expressions of self interest. 

Consider the rest of society as the common resource of the wealthy. Clearly it is in the collective interests of the wealthy to manage, maintain, and nurture society, since they are dependent on it.  However, it is in the individual interests of the wealthy to exploit society as much as they can, since any one who does not will be left with less, and weaker than the others.  The wealthy are thus in competition with each other to exploit society, and to the greatest of their ability.  It is the tragedy of the commons, where the commons is the entirety of society.

Now there are (many) cases of successful community regulation of shared resources.  But they are invariably local in scale, and associated with strong and close community relationships.

In the absence of close community, there are only two solutions.  One is to divide up the resources.  In terms of a country, this would be the fragmentation of that country into smaller ones, and the assumption of the government functions of each new country by a single individual. In this case, the libertarian society fails by fragmentation into a collection of independent autocracies. However, the force of competition between nations need not allow this as a solution at all, as resources may be consumed in a greater than sustainable rate in an arms race.  That is, the competition between the new, smaller, nations to build force will impose a higher rate of discounting the future. 

The other solution is to restrain and direct the self interested behavior of the wealthy by an overarching agency. That is, the institution of a government of sufficient strength to restrain the wealthy.  One of the necessary requirements of strength needed to accomplish this is an effective monopoly of force by the government.  So the third reason, then, that a libertarian society will fail, is that either it will tear itself apart, or it will acquire a government.

And this is already incompatible with the premises of Right Libertarianism.  However, even this government is not sufficient. The monopoly of force will merely prevent the competition between entities from itself degenerating into a balance of realized and potential violence.    The other required ability of the government is to force the internalization of costs.  The internalization of costs must be done in both space and time.  In particular, pollution must be eliminated, or at least paid for in real, compensatory, investment.  Also, all resources must be consumed at a sustainable rate. Since the consumption of non-renewable resources by definition cannot be sustained, they must be either recycled or, if they are of a nature where they cannot be recycled, dependence on them must be eliminated. Only with this requirement can society be assured that the benefits of production are greater than the costs. 

One note here. The greater the concentration of wealth, the greater the powers of government required to counterbalance it.

To put the point nicely: Right Libertarianism, except perhaps on the smallest scale, lacks the necessary organization to respond to the demands of its physical environment. This includes the demands made by other, more organized, societies.  This is the fourth reason libertarian societies will fail.  

Regarding organization, the body politic of Right Libertarianism might be regarded to most closely resemble that of a jellyfish, rather than any higher life form with some sort of functioning brain.  In consideration of that, the increasing rise of moneyed power, the concomitant reduction in government functionality as it increasingly becomes subject to control by the wealthy, the "Libertarianization" of our nation, are given additional perspective.