Monday, December 13, 2010

Question for Danger


When Austrians discuss the perverse effects of the Fed, they often refer to how it distorts information and market transactions, with the assumption that these distortions are negative consequences from an economic point of view.  With respect to other governmental interventionism, they often point to the Hayekian argument regarding the use of knowledge in society, the ability of individuals to make better use of their contextual knowledge than central planners ever could, etc.  They point to the destabilizing effects of frequent and unpredictable governmental involvement, and how this affects the ability of individuals to develop life plans, which affects investment decisions.  My question is this: if the ability to act on local knowledge and plan for the future is central for the maintenance of an orderly economic system, how does an anarchist political philosophy fit into the story?  I am not equating Austrian economics with political anarchism.  They are two independent theories in independent disciplines.  But you are an anarchist with Austrian beliefs.  What assumptions does the Austrian/anarcho economic model make?  What does this model look like?  I am especially interested to see the assumptions regarding stability and predictability in market transactions.  What are the systemic effects of a free market in law and protection?  What kind of plans are individuals able to make? 

I am not familiar with Carson’s work, so maybe he has answered these questions.  But I think they are important and this is an issue I have raised in the past, something I am not comfortable with.  I have not seen a convincing anarchist argument regarding the fact of reasonable disagreement in a pluralist society.  In other words, even if everyone was an angel and always acted on their good-faith belief about the natural rights and obligations of their fellow man, there would still be considerable disagreement about the content of those rights and obligations, the boundaries they set forth, and whether or not these boundaries have been violated.

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