This isn’t so much of a critique of laissez faire as it is a simple observation on the true nature of the system. An old school marxian may find this interesting and maybe even a little amusing to read. Many libertarians and conservatives truly want to believe that their sacred cow is truly guided by the invisible hand of the free market. That it really isn’t at risk for being controlled and it’s not an implicit means of control already. I had previously done an article on the amorality of capitalism. So let’s revisit that a little.
The definition of free market is free from control and outside intervention. But does that really mean it’s free from human planning? No, I’m afraid not. The reason why I say that planning is something that is not eliminated from the economy is that there are entire professions dedicated to creating a demand or maintaining a company’s dominance. As much as I hate to give Marx credit for anything. The idea of the boss taking all the wealth and the worker slaving away is fairly applicable to the market as a whole. The big business gets easy access to wealth while the small business has to work twice as hard for every penny. Don’t freak out I am not about to start shilling for communism or some other brand of left wing economics. But you have to give the devil his due.
I am completely fine with a mixed economy of some form. Protectionism ,and distributism should have more intellectual capital on the right than laissez faire does. Marketing and Accounting can do wonders for a company on top. Applying some basic psychology and good math skills can maintain an economic dynasty for ages. Even if their products get progressively worse.
But wouldn’t moving from a laissez faire system a bit just protect the already bad actors? It probably would. But it could also harm them depending on the political culture and how much the state actually chooses to get involved. A traditionalist state might request that Bill Nye get sacked from his new gig because of that vulgar trash that was on his show.
Libertarians will often saying that bringing back the fully free market would mean “pure competition”. This is depicted by them as a good thing and to some extent it is. But when you have pure competition eventually an elite will form to rule over the plebes. When you play survival of the fittest in this world. Sometimes the elite are the people that are willing to undermine nations and traditional norms just to turn a sweet profit. Weeding out the weak is good but you also have to ask yourself a question. Do I want the sort of person that would be willing to undermine the nation and culture that he lives in at the top of the wealth ladder?
A minimal state or a stateless society will inevitably be run by oligarchs in the end. Humans crave political hierarchy and if they can’t have it one way. They will obviously find another. Imagine a dog chasing a tail that he will never catch for the rest of time. Imagined it? That’s libertarianism. Here’s a fun fact for libertarians. Karl Marx supported free trade .