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September 11, 2007

Agreeing With Monbiot

Well, to a large extent, anyway. The impossibility of actually having a form of politics that allows us all to pursue our own interests. By voting on things which are then binding upon others we necessarily restrict the rights and options of others while advancing our own interests. For example:

Citizens' juries are an excellent tool for direct decision-making: when a small group of people needs to make a decision that affects only that group.

Exactly right, but why call them citizen's juries? Why not just call them groups of people? As and when a group wishes to make a decision about something that affects them, we need and want a mechanism by which they can do this. Which we have. That mechanism is called a market. It can be a market of goods, services, ideas, mutual obligations...but it's still a market, people trading what they have for what they desire, only those involved voluntarily making the decisions that affect them.

Yes, of course, there are things which are not included in such markets, there are such things as externalities. Yes, there are also things which cannot be done collectively and voluntarily, some things do need the coercive opportunities of the State. But the number of them is vastly smaller than what is bound up in our current politics.

Monbiot, probably without knowing it, has put forward a very good case for the classically liberal State. Do those things which must be done by the State, those things which can only be done by the State and the political system, then leave everyone to get on with everything else voluntarily.

September 11, 2007 in Politics | Permalink

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Comments

"Yes, there are also things which cannot be done collectively and voluntarily, some things do need the coercive opportunities of the State."

Therein lies the difference 'twixt your good self and dear George. For you "some" means "few", for him, it means "almost everything, including wiping your bottom".

Posted by: IanCroydon | Sep 11, 2007 2:23:17 PM