Yes, right libertarianism (or more correctly, propertarianism) is becoming more popular with those in I.T. and the "new economy" types, but I, for one, am not impressed.There is nothing "Right Wing" about Libertarianism. Your confusion is probably brought about by a one dimensional political world view. Before I realized that there are (at least) two orthogonal dimensions to political thought, I described myself as "to the left of the Democrats, and to the right of the Republicans". Now I realize that on both of the identified axes, economic and social, I am partial to freedom, which makes me a libertarian. If you must have a direction and a bird part, I suppose you could call me a Forward Beaker. This would be appropriate, as authoritarians, who opposes both personal and economic freedom, would then be Back Butters, which sounds vaguely obscene. The extreme of the right is fascism. The extreme of the left is communism. The extreme of the front is anarchism. The extreme of the back is totalitarianism. Unfortunately, the extremes of the left and right both come out in practice looking much like the back.
Propertarianism does not contradict Libertarianism, but does not fully specify it. It merely accepts the morality of private property. I suggest the word Libertarianism, which fully specifies the Libertarian philosophy. Generally, propertarianism is used as a slur by socialists, though some Libertarians have, in the Yankee Doodle tradition, adopted the slur to negate it.
As J.K. Galbraith said, "...[the libertarian] is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness".Actually, what Galbraith said is "the modern conservative..." not "the libertarian...". A conservative, like a (modern) liberal, is 90 degrees from libertarianism on the political compass. You might want to find an authority who actually criticized libertarianism for your next article.
Regardless of the morality of the thing, there are plenty of other reasons to dislike Libertarianism. Here are thirteen:Disregarding morality is normally unwise.
1. Libertarianism is highly axiomatic: There's a set of rules to be applied to evaluate what is proper, and the outcome given is the answer which is correct in terms of the moral principle of the theory. This leads to quite a few tortured 'terms of art' in libertarian thought since, due to it's axiomatic nature, the libertarian rhetoric cannot survive counter-factual arguments.Yes, Libertarianism *IS* a simple system. This is important for several reasons. One of these reasons is that ordinary people in a just society must know, without question, whether they are breaking a law at nearly all times. Even when grey areas are unavoidable, they almost must know where the grey area is, so that they can seek legal advice. To imprison or kill a person for a crime they do not understand and could not define seems to me the height of injustice.
Note that Libertarianism is a political philosophy, not a moral one. It does not ask "What should I do?" but "What should all people be forced to do?". Libertarians, though we have a consensus on most legal and political issues, have a wide variety of tastes and personal moral convictions, all of which are tolerable in a Libertarian society. Acting upon them is also tolerable, so long as they do not stray into the area which is axiomatically and legally impermissible. Which brings us to the non-initiation of force.
2.Non-Initiation of Force: Libertarians claim to believe that "No person should initiate the use of force against another person." Fine and dandy, except that what they really mean is "No person should do something improper according to Libertarian ideology". For instance, government collecting taxes is "initiation of force", governments enforcing contracts is not...This is an important distinction. The difference is the point of initiation:
- I have not agreed to pay taxes. Therefore, in the tax game, the first move goes to the government. They attempt to force me to pay them, and I resist. The first use of force is by the government.
- On the other hand, if I enter into a contract, and receive something of value, that item of value is owned by me contingent on my complying with the contract. If I am later unable or unwilling to comply with it, I no longer own the property. Were I to attempt to forcibly prevent the other party from reclaiming his property, that would be an initiation of force. Were the government to respond, it would not be an initiation of force. It has previously been initiated.
3.Negative Rights: Libertarian thought is based almost entirely on the concept of negative rights (freedom from...). There is little discussion of positive rights (freedom to...) in libertarian rhetoric. This type of empty Formalism makes for good sound bites, but does little to articulate a firm deontic position. Ruling out positive rights as a matter or principle create an argument by counter-factual: If negative rights are to be significant, then there must be a positive duty to protect and uphold them, transforming them into positive rights.Freedom from initiation of force implies "freedom to..." do anything which does not initiate force. It is completely symmetrical. It does impose a duty on others: the duty to refrain from initiating force. To argue that there is a positive duty to "protect and uphold" rights is an odd perversion of this. If I have a duty to "protect and uphold" rights, then I am not free, if I am struck, to turn the other cheek. I have a duty to "protect and uphold" my rights by striking back. This is a very odd duty.
But this is not usually the duty to which people refer when they talk about the duty to "protect and uphold" rights. Usually, they believe that people have rights to material things like food, clothing, and medical care, even if they choose not to make any effort to secure those things for themselves. Since none of these things exist until a person creates them, this is a non-symmetrical arrangement: those who choose to create (and succeed) have a duty to those who do not choose to (or fail to) create. And those who choose not to create have a right to take what they want, by force, from those who do choose to create. They cannot do so without violating the rights of the creators. Thus positive rights in this sense cannot be symmetrical. And rights which are not symmetrical cannot be universal. There can be no "right" to enslave others.
4.Non-Autonomous Sentient Beings: Libertarianism asserts that each autonomous agent initially fully owns herself and that agents have moral power to acquire property rights in natural resources and artifacts. What is the status of non-autonomous beings-such as children and many animals-that have moral standing (e.g., because sentient)? One possible reply is to deny that there are any non-autonomous beings wth moral standing (e.g., because only beings capable of having moral duties-agents-are owed any duties). Non-autonomous beings are simply things to be used. As such, they can be the full private property of agents. Few people, however, will accept that position. Children are not the full private property of their parents. Dogs may not be tortured for fun. Another possibility is to hold that non-autonomous sentient beings are also full self-owners, where the rights involved are understood as protecting their interests rather than their choices (see, for example, Vallentyne 2002). This, of course, would have the wild implication that rats are protected by rights of self-ownership. Perhaps there is some plausible intermediate position, but if so, it has not yet been developed adequately.Wow, this one isn't entirely wrong! This is a grey area. On the one hand, people have a right to raise their children as they see fit. On the other hand, children are moral agents and have a right to be free from the initiation of force. This is one of the very few areas in which legitimate rights conflict. Since there are so many violations of rights which take place every day which are unquestionably violations, I would suggest that the question of whether a parent can spank their child be deferred until sometime after we have established, in all other respects, a Libertarian society. Most Libertarians will generally prefer such issues to be handled by non-governmental bodies, but are aware that this is sometimes this is not possible.
5.Historicism: According to libertarianism, the justice of the current distribution of legal rights over resources depends on what the past was like. Given that the history of the world is full of systematic violence (genocide, invasion, murder, assault, theft, etc.), we can be sure that the current distribution of legal rights over resources did not come about justly and that adequate reparations have not been made. At the same time, however, we have little knowledge of the specific rights violations that took place in the past (e.g., we have little knowledge of all but the most egregious rights violations that took place more than one hundred years ago). Thus, we have little knowledge of what justice today requires. The epistemic problem confronting libertarianism is similar to that confronting utilitarianism and other consequentialist theories. Consequentialist theories require knowledge of the entire future that will result from each possible action, and we have very little such knowledge. Libertarianism requires knowledge of the entire past, and we also have very little such knowledge. The appropriate answer in both cases is that the facts determine what is just, and we should simply make out best judgements about what is just based on what we know. Moral reality is complex, and it's not surprising that it's extremely difficult to know what is permissible.It is impossible to trace property rights back to the beginning of time, and to determine their validity. That is correct. There have been numerous government interventions, conquests, thefts, enslavements, and other such actions in history. Since it is impossible, I would make the pragmatic suggestion that we not do it. Alternately if one mass redistribution was required in order for history buffs to be willing to enter into a Libertarian society, I, personally, would not object. The nice thing about capitalism is that it is a huge wealth creation machine. The wealth that existed in America during slavery, for example, is a tiny fraction of the wealth that exists here now, and as total wealth grows the importance of historical wealth diminishes. And all this progress has been made in a government hampered market.
When businesses are not able to claim government support in preserving monopolies, barbers cannot prevent more people from becoming barbers by imposing absurd regulations, people are free to build themselves "sub-standard" housing when that is the best they can afford, wealth is not wasted in offensive and pointless wars, and the market is able to operate at the greatest possible efficiency, imagine how quickly wealth will be created!
The most important point is that people will be free to work as much as they want, rather than being artificially limited to 40 hour weeks (the average work week 100 years ago was 60 hours, and when most people were low tech farmers, 12 hour days were the norm. Most people in our society do not need or want to work that much, but those who do are forced to work two separate jobs, due to mandatory overtime, rather than the more efficient solution of working more hours on their first job. This is the same principal which leaves many people with two part time jobs instead of one full time job when benefits are mandated for full time employees. Of course if you mandate benefits for part time employees, and their production ceases to be at least equal to minimum wage + mandatory benefits, their jobs just disappear and they become unemployed. But they are unemployed at a higher wage, if that makes anyone feel better. Of course as the economy grows and grows, and labor becomes more and more scarce, fewer and fewer people will choose to work long hours, unless they are pursuing some goal which they consider worth the extra effort. Attempts to "force" people to work long hours by threatening to fire them only work when unemployed workers are more plentiful than jobs. The only way employers could get longer hours would be to pay more. This would be possible, because more capital creates more productivity.
Since ownership of a thing is naturally vested in the creator of that thing, and anyone who wants to obtain that thing must pay the creator, in the long run distribution of wealth will be much more fair, in that it will much more closely match the amount which has been created by the owner, plus that which has been freely given to the owner, minus that which has been consumed by the owner minus that which has been freely given away by the owner. This is the only "fair" distribution of wealth.
There are alternatives to either an arbitrary (perhaps random) redistribution of wealth at the outset or a clean slate policy to accept the status quo and move forward. One is to declare the current distribution to be unfair, and to intervene again and again, over and over, based on incalculable results of unknowable crimes. Each historical claim or counter claim could be studied ad nausium and at great cost, producing another imperfect result to be further litigated at a later date. You can see the results of such thinking anywhere in the Middle East. Or, alternatively, we could require that the wealth of every individual be made equal and kept equal by force. Any time anyone created anything, they would then have more than their neighbors, and their creation would be confiscated and divided among the population. This might happen frequently, at first, but soon people would learn their lesson, and they would never create anything again. Famine would commence soon after, but we would all starve equally, and that's what really counts, right?
6."Natural" Rights: That there are such things as rights anterior to the establishment of governments: for natural, as applied to rights, if it mean anything, is meant to stand in opposition to legal - to such rights as are acknowledged to owe their existence to government, and are consequently posterior in their date to the establishment of government... That which has no existence cannot be destroyed - that which cannot be destroyed cannot require anything to preserve it from destruction. Natural rights is simple nonsense: natural and imprescriptible rights, rhetorical nonsense, - nonsense upon stilts. (Bentham, 1843).Was Hitler's government just, because everything it did was legal under German law, or was German law wrong? If German law was wrong, there must be a standard outside of government by which it can be judged. If there is a standard, operating outside government, which can be used to classify government or set of laws as right or wrong, it must exist independent of government. Therefore, either Hitler violated no rights (in Germany), or natural rights exist independent of law.
Of course one could argue that a standard came to exist at some time between the creation of the American government and Hitler's government, but if so, what is it and where is it? Would Hitler's government have been just, if only it had existed prior to the creation of this standard? Rubbish.
Also, government does not exist in order to prevent rights from being destroyed. Rights cannot be created or destroyed. Government exists to keep rights from being violated. There is a difference.
7.Free Markets & Freedom From Coercion: Libertarians claim that the only economic order that respects individual freedom, is the free market. According to libertarians the free market is the sum of the voluntary exchanges, and contracts going on in a society, nothing more and nothing less. Any distribution that occurs in the operation of a free market, is therefore just since at no stage has anyone's rights been violated, and all the exchanges were voluntary. The people involved in a free market must accept the rules of its operation, namely the rules that forbid attacks on others, using another's property without their consent, trespass, and fraud. This means that the free market has to include the mechanisms for deterring crimes, and mechanisms for compensation and punishment should such crimes be committed. The amount of coercion required to prevent such crimes, depends on the level of acquiescence of the population to the free market rules. For a libertarian to claim that a libertarian society is totally free in this sense, and justify it by saying that they expect everyone to respect property rights in this way, is on a par with a socialist claiming that a socialist society is free from coercion, because they expect everyone to be willing to accept the socialist's laws.Actually, the market does not include the mechanisms for deterring crime, for compensation, or for punishment. That is the role of government. Libertarians are well aware that people will commit crimes. We are well aware that a certain amount of force will be required in order to minimize this factor. But even when government uses force in this way, it has not initiated force. If the violated law was just, then force was initiated by the criminal, and the government responded. If, however, the violated law was unjust, for example if the government arrested the person because they thought that someday the "criminal" might commit a crime because he smokes pot, then the government initiated force, and is in the wrong.
Note that just laws, and the enforcement of just laws, do not take away any rights. If a law is passed against murder, it does not take away my right to murder, since I never had a right to murder, even in the absence of the law.
I also disagree with your belief that the level of acquiescence of the population to free market rules is what governs the coercion required to prevent or punish crime. I would suggest that most people are more pragmatic than that. I would say that most people, given the choice between making a good living through work and being a criminal, will choose to make a good living through work. There are exceptions, who would be criminals in any society. These would have to be dealt with by force. But most people will be criminal only when the benefits of the crime outweigh the "opportunity cost" of the crime, including the risk of apprehension. The faster the economy grows, the more money people will make, and the more money people make, the less likely they will be to rob, rape, or murder others.
8.Enrichez vous!: If we take liberty to be the freedom from coercion, then this implies that the amount of property determines the amount of freedom you have, something which libertarians would explicitly deny. It also determines that property becomes the concept which determines what liberty is. Without property, you are completely subject to the whims/wishes of others, a state which I do not consider to be one of freedom.I explicitly deny that. There is no relationship between the amount of property you own and the amount of freedom you possess. You have the freedom to acquire property, and you have the freedom to trade property. There is no such thing as a person who is entirely devoid of property, because every person owns himself. Therefore, every person can trade labor for goods. Once he has done so, he owns both his body and the newly obtained goods. If he chooses to consume less than he produces, he will accumulate goods, and thus become richer. If he chooses to consume more than he produces, he will exhaust his store of goods, except that he will still own himself, the one property which cannot be transferred.
This system could break down if two conditions were met:
- One individual or group owns the entire planet, and
- That individual or group is malevolent.
9.Circular Arguments: Libertarian arguments mix the consequentalist (teleological) and the nonconsequentialist (deontological). The first is the province of free-market economists and other social scientists, who contend that laissez-faire capitalism produces desirable consequences. The second is the realm of libertarian philosophers, who contend that because of its intrinsic justice, laissez-faire is desirable a priori, regardless of its consequences. These two kinds of reasoning render each other superfluous. If libertarian philosophy is valid, there is no need to investigate the empirical consequences of laissez-faire. And if the a posteriori consequences of laissez-faire need to be investigated, then there is no need for a priori libertarian philosophy.A circular argument is one in which the conclusion is one of the premises. For example:
- The Bible is the literal word of God.
- How do you know?
- God said so.
- How do you know?
- It says so in the Bible.
- How do you know the Bible is accurate?
- Because there cannot be any errors in the Bible.
- Why not?
- Because the Bible is the literal word of God.
Let us imagine that somebody convinced you, through a nonconsequentialist argument, that there was a moral imperative to strap dynamite to yourself and blow up the headquarters of the Libertarian Party. Through some wondrous argument, you are finally convinced. To be a moral person, you must do this thing. You like being a moral person. But you also like being a breathing person. So you say "I would prefer to be a breathing and immoral person then to be a dead moral person. I will not do this thing, despite the fact that it is a moral imperative". At this point, the person says "If you do this thing, you will go to heaven". This is a consequentialist argument, made to reassure you that the result of doing the right thing will be better than you thought. It is not redundant. However, in case you are thinking of blowing up our headquarters, I should probably point out that both arguments are false.
In the case of Libertarian philosophy, there is a somewhat more complex dynamic going on, because we are taught (through consequentialist argument) in the public schools that capitalism is immoral. It impoverishes the noble worker and enslaves the virtuous peasant. It creates monopolies, restrains competition, causes overproduction, and underproduction, and bad breath to boot. All of these things are false (except possibly the bad breath part). So some of the consequentialist arguments made in support of capitalism (which is part of Libertarianism) are to dispel the illusion that a free market would result in a society that would be unpleasant at best, even if it were moral. There is nothing wrong with this.
10.Anti-Democratic: Libertarians I have spoken to, and most I have read, rail against "mob rule", usually along some variation of "Mob rule isn't any prettier merely because the mob calls itself a government." Corporate feudalism isn't any prettier merely because the corporations prattle about free markets. Strawmen are SO easy to create. A landed aristocracy which derives its liberty and power from property ownership is bound to be a bit upset at the idea of the unpropertied voting. Seems no different even if you call it "libertarianism".I know some anarcho-capitalists who are entirely anti-government they could be considered to be anti-democratic, anti-fascist, anti-communist, anti-monarchist, and anti-socialist equally. Most libertarians are minimal statists. They support the existence of the state, and most of them, myself included, prefer a constitutionally limited democratic government, similar to the one which the founding fathers designed for America. We would limit the government a bit more, for example, we would not permit the laws which created slavery, which requires legal support in order to prevent prosecution of slave owners for initiating force, even if 50% of the population supported such laws. To this extent, we are anti-democratic, just as the Bill of Rights is anti-democratic: it limits what 51% of the population is permitted to do to the other 49%. We are anti-democratic in that were Hitler to be democratically elected tomorrow, as he was in Germany, most of us would probably be in Washington the following day, with the guns we demand the right to keep and bear, trying to get a clear shot. Your majority does not override my sovereignty over my person.
I personally believe that many of the unjust laws in America were passed in an undemocratic manner due to a flaw in our Constitution. The problem is that only 25% support is required in America in order to pass a law that binds the 75% of the population which disagrees with the law, even if that law was the only issue that was relevant in their voting decisions. This is due to a mathematical oddity of our form of representative democracy. In order to elect a congressman in America, 50% plus one of the actual voters must support him. In order to pass a law, 50% plus one of the congressmen who vote must vote for the law. This means that if people were willing to do absolutely anything, including relocate, in order to get a law passed, it would only require 25% of the population in order to do so. As a matter of fact, probably 20% would be enough, if they moved into the least populous congressional districts. As far as I know, this has never happened (to this extent) in America, but as the Red State/Blue State dichotomy shows, small changes in political power among different groups in different localities in America can have overwhelming consequences in who is elected. If there were any differences remaining between the "lesser evil" parties, they would have had overwhelming differences in policy, as well.
11.Rational Choice Theory: Libertarians claim that without beginning from an assumption of humans as rational actors, there is no basis for the development of any coherent theory of political organization or rights.I don't make quite that claim. I do make the claim that from a political perspective, it should be assumed that (most) people are rational. The reason for this is that people have unique values. I cannot know your values, and thus I cannot know if any given action you take is consistent with your values. The closest I can come to understanding what your values are, however, is to watch your behavior and to assume that your behavior reflects your values. If your behavior does not match your values, it is not up to me to force you to change your behavior to match your values (or mine). It is up to you to behave in a way that better reflects your values. If you are unemployed, it may be because you would rather be broke and not work, or it may be because you are irrational and refuse to seek work despite the fact that you would rather not be broke. This is your issue. Of course if you are unemployed because the government enforces insane regulations that prevent the creation of jobs and the accumulation of capital, as they do now, that is a public issue, and one which Libertarians are trying desperately to address.
12.Moral Autonomy: Except in all instances of disagreement with practices in the 'free market' of course. In a libertarian world, no one has the moral autonomy to question or oppose the 'free market'. I fail to see how elevating a new moral authority (the market) is a critique or repudiation of the concept of moral authorities (governments).In a libertarian world, anyone would have the moral autonomy to question or oppose anything they wanted to question or oppose. They would have the right to, for example, form quasi-socialist communes within that society (see my article on Peaceful Socialism). The only thing they would not have is the right to use force to prevent others from participating in the free market. The only right that a non-participant has with respect to any voluntary transaction is not to participate, and to voice his displeasure. He does not have the right to force others to spend their lives pursuing those things that he values, rather than to spend their lives pursuing those things that they value. The converse of this, since negative rights are reflexive, is that they don't have the right to force him to spend his life pursuing to goals that are important to them. The price of tolerance is tolerance.
The market is not, and should not be, any sort of moral authority. One thing that the market has in common with government is that it is entirely amoral. If you want to purchase drugs, or booze, or the services of prostitutes, or anything else, the market will provide them to you, provided that no law is in the way. The difference, of course, between the market and government is that the market cannot compel you to purchase those things that you do not want. Halliburton could not, for example, go off and bomb Iraq in a free market and force you to pay for it. Compulsion requires government (or a compulsive personality, but that's different).
13.Process Legitimizes Outcome: Libertarians believe that there is no such thing as distributive justice in the normal sense. To them, the outcome of the 'free market' as they define it is always just, regardless of what that outcome is. Thus a libertarian cannot oppose racial, sexual or any other form of discrimination if they are the result of the market. Personal feelings about such circumstances must be treated as wrong-headed if such circumstances emerged as the result of a libertarian 'free market' society.You're right, sort of. There is no such thing as distributive justice, in either a normal or an abnormal sense. The reason is that there is no system of distribution which can be deemed either just or unjust. There is only a system of production, and a system of government. Under a just system of government, all which you create belongs to you because you created it. It would not exist if you had not made the effort to create it, so how can anyone else have any claim to it? In the case of groups engaged in production, they can divide the result in any way which pleases them. If capital is plentiful and workers scarce, as was the case in the 1600's in America, a large share of the value of the product will go to the workers and a smaller share to those who provide the capital. This will continue until capital is consumed or the workers multiply to the point where the balance tips the other way. If workers are plentiful and capital is scarce, a large share of the value created will go to capitalist and a smaller share will go to the workers, until enough capital is accumulated to tip the balance the other way. At the same time, more successful or more frugal workers will accumulate resources, and will either invest them or go into business for themselves, in either case creating more jobs. In the case where capital and labor supplies in an industry were precisely balanced, the wages of labor would approach the value of the goods created, minus the amount of interest that would normally be paid on the value of the capital plus an adjustment for risk, which would take into account the probability of loss and the magnitude of loss. None of these changes happen because people love their fellow man, or are pulling for the team, or anything equally unlikely. They occur because each person pursues his own self interest in the best way he can and in accordance with his values.
Since the market values of inputs and outputs are constantly rising and falling, this would be a balance which would be constantly pursued, rarely attained, and never maintained. Most of the time, there would be imbalance in one way or the other, but these imbalances should be relatively even unless there is some sort of bias in government which makes the imbalance chronic (as we have now in America) or the reproduction rate of the unskilled exceeds economic growth as a whole. As the society becomes richer, the latter threat recedes (rich people tend to reproduce less than poor people) but the former threat increases (rich people tend to look around and see things which seem unacceptable to them, although they were the norm in the recent past. There is always the threat that they will feel there is some sort of "distributive justice" principal which is unsatisfied. If they just donate to charity, this is not a problem, as no force is involved. If they pass a law, like an income tax and welfare system, they can make imbalances permanent. This also applies to laws that fix maximum wages (which happened during WWII, when labor was scarce and capital plentiful) or minimum wages (which happens now, and maintains the scarcity of capital, as well as preventing people from working when they would be willing, creating more poverty in the long run), or any other price fixing scheme.
As for the rest, I'll start with the most absurd statement first: Libertarianism has no stance on what your personal feelings should be. It is a political philosophy. It only addresses violence, fraud, and rights, as those are the realm of politics. Feel how you like, and say so, and say so loudly. If I personally consider your feelings to be wrong-headed, I will tell you so, but you have every right to feel any way to want to feel. By the way, your feelings are wrong-headed. That's from me, not from the party.
As for racial, sexual, or other forms of discrimination, there are three parts
to that issue.
- A political question: Should government force you to associate with someone with whom you do not want to associate. I would answer no. As a matter of fact, I think that the best thing that white separatists could do for America is separate. They could buy a great big ranch, and all 237 of them could move there and stay there, and I, for one, wouldn't miss them a bit. I do not want to associate with such people any more than they want to associate with me.
- A second political question: should government enforce laws or policies which treat one group of people differently from another group of people. My answer to that is no. Government exists to protect the individual rights of the members of the society which it governs. That is what governing is, in a just society. That means that government should be completely color blind, and that the laws which created slavery (creating exemptions in existing statute to allow involuntary confinement of some groups of people, for example), the laws which are now called Jim Crow laws, and Affirmative Action in government hiring are all, in my opinion, immoral. Government has a responsibility to treat all individuals as equal under the law, unless they have initiated force against other individual, in which case they have given up some of their rights. Government should also be colorblind in it's own hiring practices. Any government which makes it's hiring or buying decisions based on race is not a just government. By the way, initiation of force is not genetic, you cannot inherit the mistakes of your parents or your race.
An economic question: What would happen in a free society, in which a
minority was considered undesirable by a majority of the majority? This is an
extreme case, I would guess that the proportion of bigots among whites in
America, for example, is about 1/1000. But lets examine the extreme case,
and see what it yields. The answer is that in the long run, what you would
end up with is basically two economies, separate but equal, with trade
between them. This trade would occur either through non-bigoted members of
the majority community, or it would occur through bigoted members of the
majority community who were more greedy than bigoted. It would be as if two
countries had been superimposed on the same territory, with no trade
restrictions between them, and with a treaty which allowed them to buy
territory from each other as their populations grew. In other words, it
would not be the end of the world. This is because the laws of physics, the
laws of economics, and the laws of our hypothetical society work in the same
way for all people. If one group had a comparative advantage over the other
group, trade would occur between them. This trade would benefit both groups.
If one group was poorer than the other group, they would be willing to work
for less. This, in and of itself, would constitute a comparative advantage.
It would have two effects: the first would be that capital invested in the
workplaces which employed the poorer group would be more productive than the
capital invested in the workplaces which employed the richer group. Capital
would flow from the richer territory to the poorer territory until workers in
the poorer territory became as productive as those in the richer territory.
Entrepreneurs in the poorer territory would also have better opportunities
than those in the richer territory, for the same reasons. This would cause
capital owned by members of the poorer community to grow faster than capital
owned by members of the richer community. Unemployment would increase in the
richer community and decrease in the poorer community. Wages would decrease
in the richer community and increase in the poorer community. Eventually,
parity would be reached. None of this requires anything from the people
involved except plain old fashoned greed, and evolution has assured that we
have plenty of that.
Does this part sound far fetched? Look at the history of the Jewish, the Italian and the Irish communities in New York! Look at some of the rich but segregated black communities that grew up in Kansas and other places. Discrimination does not make economic sense. Some will practice it, if they let their bigotry overcome their greed, but others will let their greed overcome their bigotry and ignore their personal feelings because the market doesn't care what color you are. Those who choose bigotry will prosper less than those who choose greed. And eventually, nobody will even notice which group you belong to, because the most successful members of the majority community are those who did not discriminate, and because it is obvious to all observers that the members of the minority community work just as hard, are just as productive, and are just as well educated as members of the majority community. In the long run, bigotry is a self-liquidating phenomenon. Those few bigots who remain, and you would be hard pressed to find any belief, however irrational, that wasn't held by somebody (there are still socialists, even after the intellectual, moral, and economic bankruptcy of socialism has been so completely exposed) but they would be a small minority of failures who just needed somebody to blame. And that would be the end of that.