Does the Free Market Presuppose the State?
Finally finished Man, Economy, and State after only 2 years! (Yes, I read other stuff and took huge breaks in between haha)
Now I’m going to start reading a bit of Power and Market in my free time, but mainly I’ll be reading a book called The Last Superstition by Edward Feser.
Regardless, here’s a short passage I just read from Power and Market:
The laissez-faireists offer several objections to the idea of free-market defense. One objection holds that, since a free market of exchanges presupposes a system of property rights, therefore the State is needed to define and allocate the structure of such rights.
This is an important argument to deal with. Here’s an analogy: if someone said the natural sciences presuppose free will, then the natural sciences cannot tell us anything about free will. Likewise, if the free market presupposes a system of property rights, someone could argue the latter must be built outside of the free market.
But there is nothing obviously wrong about saying defense can be provided by the free market even if the free market presupposes property rights. All that’s needed is a slight semantical change. Let’s say 10% of the free market is defense and 90% of the free market is the other stuff. I can say that 90% of the free market presupposes the other 10% of defense services. There is nothing illogical about this.
By acknowledging defense services can be provided by the free market, we can have a consistent libertarian theory unimpinged by a State that so clearly contradicts it.