Monday, June 13, 2016

We Now Have More Examples of Libertarianism In Practice, But It Still Isn't Modern Economic Theory

For quite a while, the best example we could give fans of Ayn Rand regarding how their libertarian notions would work out in practice might have been Somalia. But, as Denise Cummins outlines in "What Happens When You Believe in Ayn Rand and Modern Economic Theory," recent times have seen at least two more examples: Sears and Honduras.

If there's one obvious quibble with Cummins' work there, it's in too blithely describing libertarianism as "modern economic theory" and equating libertarians with economists. While there are all too many libertarians who claim to be economists, there are quite a few economists who feel that these libertarians' claims are shaky (at least without inserting the adjective "shoddy" or at least "misguided" in front of "economists" when speaking of the libertarian ones). And there's strong argument that rather than "modern economic theory", libertarian would better be described as a throwback to neoclassical or Walrasian economics (albeit with some updating via Friedman). Friedman's Randian apologetics for neoclassical economics do not make it particularly "modern", even if his efforts combined with the eager fanboys of Rand have made libertarianism all too popular.

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