[FoRK] Do You Belong to The Church?

James Tauber jtauber at jtauber.com
Wed May 5 12:32:13 PDT 2010

When I was 13 at high school in Australia a friend and I came up with an elaborate political system where basically everyone worked for a company and the company provided health and education, allocation of resources, etc.

We showed our economics teacher who said it was a very nice description of a planned economy. We were very confused. It was a *business* that ran things, there was no government. We were pro-business, not pro-government.

You see, from the ages of 9-12, I lived in Brunei where my father worked for Shell. I went to a company school, we lived in a company house with company furniture, we shopped at a company run supermarket. Growing up, to me, this was big business.

So in the last 10 years, as I've gotten more into classical liberalism, I've had trouble with the notion that big business is the pinnacle of capitalism.

I said in a blog comment in 2005: "large companies have far more in common with centrally planned socialism than free market capitalism". Paul Graham said similar in an essay later that year: " most companies, for all their talk about the value of free markets, are run internally like commmunist states."

So I view freelancers as a far better example of free markets than big businesses and (heaven forbid) Goldman Sachs!

In my mind, any n-dimensional political classification needs a dimension where pro-government and pro-big-business are at the same end of the spectrum.  Both Austrians (particular Kirzner et al) and Distributionalists would presumably be at the other.


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