Why I Am an Anarcho-Capitalist
By Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
December 2, 2013
A great many people – more than ever, probably – describe themselves as supporters of the free market today, in spite of the unrelenting propaganda against it. And that’s great. Those statements of support, however, are followed by the inevitable but: but we need government to provide physical security and dispute resolution, the most critical services of all.
Almost without a thought, people who otherwise support the market want to assign to government the production of the most important goods and services. Many favor a government or government-delegated monopoly on the production of money, and all support a government monopoly on the production of law and protection services.
This isn’t to say these folks are stupid or doltish. Nearly all of us passed through a limited-government – or “minarchist” – period, and it simply never occurred to us to examine our premises closely.
To begin with, a few basic economic principles ought to give us pause before we assume government activity is advisable:
Monopolies (of which government itself is a prime example) lead to higher prices and poorer service over time.
The free market’s price system is constantly directing resources into such a pattern that the desires of the consumers are served in a least-cost way in terms of opportunities foregone.
Government, by contrast, cannot be “run like a business,” as Ludwig von Mises explained in Bureaucracy. Without the profit-and-loss test, by which society ratifies allocation decisions, a government agency has no idea what to produce, in what quantities, in what location, using what methods. Their every decision is arbitrary, in a way directly analogous to the problem facing the socialist planning board (as Mises also discussed, this time in his famous essay “Economic Calculation in the Socialist Commonwealth”).
In other words, when it comes to government provision of anything, we have good reason to expect poor quality, high prices, and arbitrary and wasteful resource allocation.
My political opinions lean more and more to anarchy (philosophically understood, meaning abolition of control not whiskered men with bombs) The most improper job of any man is bossing other men. J(ohn) R(onald) R(euel) Tolkien Letter to ChristopherTolkien, 29 Apr.