Friday, March 18, 2011

Three Voluntary Economies

A free nation is not necessarily a Capitalist nation. As we seek to describe the institutions of a free nation we must consider all the alternatives. In the United States, libertarians tend to associate the idea of an economy based on voluntary relations with cash-based, for-profit enterprises. Other voluntary economic relations are possible. In addition to enterprises based on private monetary profit, there are at least two others which do not use this approach. one is the system based on charitable donations, usually of cash. The other is the system based on the charitable donation of labor.

It is often assumed by libertarians in America that, were it not for violent intervention by government or by criminals, most economic activity would be handled through profit-making business relations. This seems more a reflection of the history of the American economy than of economic analysis. It is far from true that philosophical libertarianism requires any inherent bias towards profit-oriented money economies.

Read the rest of Philip E. Jacobson article

James Tuttle,
Regular Columnist, THL
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