The Problem in a Nutshell

The contents of this post are probably nothing new if you’ve this blog for awhile, but as people back home sometimes get baffled and think I’m a left-wing loony, I’ve been thinking of a way to encapsulate where I’m coming from politico-economically in a nice, neat (though none too eloquent) nutshell.  So here’s a try:

I’m for a free market, or more importantly, a free society, which includes a free market.  Freedom requires the removal of oppressive constraints.  But oppressive constraints are precisely what are put in place by large and powerful entities determined to retain and advance their power.  We live in a world full of massive, extremely wealthy and powerful entities.  Our government is one, to be sure.  But when there’s ten bullies on the block jockeying for position, you don’t get freedom just by taking out the current top bully–rather, by doing this you invite the nine others to come in and take his place, and woe to you if they turn out to be less benign than the first.  If we’re going to live in an age of massive, centralized multinational corporations, then unfortunately we’re going to need massive, centralized governments to keep them in line (though unfortunately, these will often collude with the corporations, rather than restraining them).  You focus just on removing the governments and you don’t get freedom, you just get regime change–indeed, from a constitutional regime to an unrestricted one.  Conservatives talk as if freedom will be attained simply by removing one bully from the equation–the government–and leaving all the others untouched.  But if they get their wish, they may find that the government was, for all its foibles, the only thing maintaining some semblance of freedom from all the other bullies on the block.  So if we’re going to talk about freedom, let’s start talking about how to shrink all the bullies down to size, something that will require laws and constraints–things which, believe it or not, can be aids to freedom, rather than chains.

Now, I realize now that that’s really only half of what needs to be said, so I suppose I’ll try to work up a Pt. 2: The Solution in a Nutshell.  Heh, that should be fun…

4 thoughts on “The Problem in a Nutshell

  1. If we're going to live in an age of massive, centralized multinational corporationsI assume you actually don't want to, since you also want to start talking about how to shrink all the bullies down to size. And so I'm also looking forward to how you propose we do that.Perhaps it would be worth filling out your argument(s) about why large corporations are inherently bullying and lead to a less free society. This is a crucial plank in your case and I liked what you've already said about it, but I think it probably needs to be taken further for most people (I'm already convinced about the evils of massive corporate power).


  2. Brad Littlejohn

    Hey Byron, I thought that I did fill out my argument about how large corporations bully and reduce freedom–in my series of posts on coercion–esp. Pts. 1 and 3. Apparently you think I need to say more, though…could you spell out where you want me to flesh out the argument further?Also, you may need to be patient in looking forward to how I propose we solve the problem…I'm not sure that there's any way to say it in a nutshell without sounding vapid and platitudinous…but I'm not sure I have time for a long thorough series on the subject. Stay tuned, though…


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