What is your definition of a free market, and why do you think your definition is superior to all others? Are capitalism and free markets different? (I've seen someone say so before!)
I feel like political debates sometimes get lost when there is a difference in terminology. I'm looking for clarification here.
Liberals can answer too of course, but I am looking for exactly how a libertarian defines his/her terms. Links to libertarian thinkers who support your view are also appreciated.
To me, a 'free-market' is a market in which action between consenting adult individuals is un-hampered, and property rights are respected. It's the best definition seeing as it is the most consistent and violates nobody's rights.
This meets the definition of capitalism: "private ownership of the means of production". Unless you're one of these people who believe that when corporations lobby the government for favours, breaks, bail-outs, etc. that is 'capitalism' also. That is a kind of mercantilist system, or just plain old fascism. I only consider the US to be a little bit capitalistic.
This is the Miseian and Rothbardian view, and the view of most libertarians.
"Unhampered" how? Does this mean I can sign myself into slavery for 7 years? Or, that the boss can force me to work 100 hours a week? What do you mean by "unhampered"?
I was watching a debate about universal health care once, and the guy from the Cato institute argued against universal health care based on the inefficiency of government. The liberals shot back and said government doesn't NECESSARILY have to be inefficient, as long as everyone is held accountable and the rules are clear. The liberal basically said Republicans made the government more inefficient than it had to be.
The conservative shot back and said it wasn't realistic to believe that Republicans wouldn't be elected and make government inefficient. They are basically a necessary part of the equation when evaluating a universal health care system, unless you were to turn the U.S. into a one party state (which is kind of already is anyway, but I think you get the point).
I'm not sure that corporate monetary influence on politics is not inherent in capitalism either.
Unhampered in that individuals are allowed to make contracts with each other without molestation. So yes, you can sign yourself into slavery for 7 years if you wanted to. No boss can "force" you to work 100 hours a week, but can compel you if it is explicitly stated he can in a voluntarily signed contract.
Government is inherently inefficient in everything it does because all governmental actions are aggressive. Value can only be ascertained through voluntary trade between individuals. It is never a matter of "getting the good people into power".
Take away the politics and the temptation of aggressive power is not there. Compel corporations to compete in the market instead of lobbying government.
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