Links for January 24, 2011: Planet Money Compares Socialism and Libertarianism; When Is a Mural not a Mural?; SCOTUS Revisits “Knock and Announce”; others….

January 23, 2011

Thomas E. Woods, Jr.

  • Tom Woods | People Who Deserve to Be Better Known

    I knew one only one of the five on this list. I’m sure you will be reading more from them all here in no time. Thanks to Tom Woods for sharing, and I’m glad to pass it along!


    Nice talk with socialist economic professor Richard Wolff. If anyone out there could possibly convince me that socialism is the way to go, it would be a professor of economics who believes it. I don’t believe he makes his case here in this segment, but I’m sure it would be impossible to do so in such a small window time.

    Wolff seems to think that part of the problem with capitalism is that there is a conflict of interest between business leaders and laborers. Of course there is such a conflict, but in a world of scarce resources, there will always be conflicts of interest between producers and consumers. Everybody has an interest in producing less and consuming more, and that interest conflicts with everyone else’s interest to do the same. Abolishing capitalism will not alter this reality.

    Wolff advocates a more democratic workplace. He evidently wants rules of some kind that would limit the types of businesses that people are allowed to create. Only those businesses that allow workers the prescribed amount of say in the goings on of the business are to be permitted. Wolff does not say here whether he expects everyone to adhere to these rules voluntarily or if he has in mind some sort of enforcement apparatus. But here in our capitalist society, people are perfectly free to create democratic workplaces. The usually do not, because they want a certain amount of control over their own creations and they want to ensure adequate returns for themselves. If all these other rules are placed upon the act of starting a business, I’m sure you will see far fewer people willing to take the risk.

    Not that I’m entitled to the increased productivity the a capitalist societies, but why not freedom? Nobody forces one particular person to work for another particular person, and nobody should force business models that they find appealing on the entrepreneurs who are producing, innovating, and making things happen.


    Adam Davidson: I’m just trying to think how my life would be different [in a libertarian society].

    David Boaz: You would be much richer, you would be happier, you would be better looking, you would be taller.

    Adam Davidson: Would I be stronger?

    DB: Absolutely.

    AD: Could I eat fattening foods but somehow maintain a slim physique?

    DB: Yes, probably. … With faster economic growth, we’d have better technology. And we probably would have all these miracle fats that don’t put any weight on you.

    This is the promised Libertarian follow-up to the above discussion with a socialist. The exchange above, I’m sure, is a tongue-in-cheek jab at those who describe libertarians as utopian. Do not take it all literally, but we surely would at least have faster economic growth. It’s a shame that I feel like I have to explain this.  Read the rest of this entry »

  • Legal Thought of the Day, No. 11

    June 22, 2009

    In the case of “our” hypothetical pharmacist, he may now presumably advertise not only the prices of prescription drugs, but may attempt to energetically promote their sale so long as he does so truthfully. Quite consistently with Virginia law requiring prescription drugs to be available only through a physician, “our” pharmacist might run any of the following representative advertisements in a local newspaper:

    Pain getting you down? Insist that your physician prescribe Demerol. You pay a little more than for aspirin, but you get a lot more relief.

    Can’t shake the flu? Get a prescription for Tetracycline from your doctor today.

    Don’t spend another sleepless night. Ask your doctor to prescribe Seconal without delay.

    Unless the State can show that these advertisements are either actually untruthful or misleading, it presumably is not free to restrict in any way commercial efforts on the part of those who profit from the sale of prescription drugs to put them in the widest possible circulation. But such a line simply makes no allowance whatever for what appears to have been a considered legislative judgment in most States that, while prescription drugs are a necessary and vital part of medical care and treatment, there are sufficient dangers attending their widespread use that they simply may not be promoted in the same manner as hair creams, deodorants, and toothpaste. The very real dangers that general advertising for such drug might create in terms of encouraging, even though not sanctioning, illicit use of them by individuals for whom they have not been prescribed, or by generating patient pressure upon physicians to prescribe them, are simply not dealt with in the Court’s opinion. If prescription drugs may be advertised, they may be advertised on television during family viewing time. Nothing we know about the acquisitive instincts of those who inhabit every business and profession to a greater or lesser extent gives any reason to think that such persons will not do everything they can to generate demand for these products in much the same manner and to much the same degree as demand for other commodities has been generated.

    ~U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist, dissenting.
    Virginia State Board of Pharmacy v. Virginia Citizens Consumer Council, Inc.
    425 U.S. 748, 789 (1976)