Attention Scott Rosen: Central Planning Will Not Work

Scott Rosen, on Lewrockwell.com:

Of course, for libertarians, all of this does raise another important question: What should be done about this unnatural influx of immigrants? The optimal solution would be to eliminate all public property and services, abolish the welfare state, and abolish all restrictions on how private property owners and local communities may govern themselves. This, however, is highly unlikely.

While there is room for debate on an imperfect solution to the issue, it would probably be best to emulate a private property system by permitting the states and localities to restrict entry to only those it feels would be of benefit to the community.

Did you get that? Rosen is suggesting that the government emulate a private property system. That would “probably be best” as an “imperfect solution”.

Think: how would Scott Rosen have the government go about emulating private property? Which properties would be protected? What rules would he have put into place? Who decides all of this, and how? The answer is that it can’t be done.

Now it’s fair to note that Rosen in fact says he wants to abolish government as a first solution, but he says that doing so is “highly unlikely”. That’s quite true, and I won’t dispute it. I’d merely note that the only thing more unlikely than the abolition of government is central planners creating a successful emulation of the free market.

Ludwig von Mises showed that socialist calculation isn’t possible:

Only because of the fact that technical considerations can be based on profitability can we overcome the difficulty arising from the complexity of the relations between the mighty system of present-day production on the one hand and demand and the efficiency of enterprises and economic units on the other; and can we gain the complete picture of the situation in its totality, which rational economic activity requires.

Government not only won’t, but can’t “emulate” a free market. Central planning isn’t an “imperfect solution”, it’s no solution at all. The solution to concerns about immigration isn’t even further collectivization of property, even more central control, another layer of socialism pasted on top of all of the others in the vain hope that this time, the planners will get it right.

The solution is a free market.

13 thoughts on “Attention Scott Rosen: Central Planning Will Not Work”

  1. Want a Belly Laugh? I was speaking with a Fraser Institute “free-market” think tank dude a week ago.

    I asked him about whether the Fraser Institute was ever going to pick up the ball and run with the idea of promoting a freezone on Indian Reserves as a way to combat the povery, lack of capital aquistion for Aboriginals in Canada.

    He responded that “A freezone” would “rob” capital from non-freezones and create unnatural distortions in the market.

    Now.. this would be laughable if I was talking to a commie, or a mixed-market Bismarkian slimebag… but I wasn’t. I was talking to somebody who claimed that his primary influences were Chicago School economics.

    He got pretty offended when I said that his argument reminded me of watching a hamster running around a wheel in a cage.

    I told him that it seemed absolutley insane to me, that a “free-market” institute would view a “free-market environment” within Canada as a “distortion”. I also suggested that since the purpose of the Fraser Institute was to ostensibly promote free-markets, that the promotion and creation of these free-zones would by necessity force the Canadian and Provincial governments to compete by lowering taxes, tarrifs and streamling regulations, he agreed…and thought that that would be great.

    So my next question was “So when is the Fraser Institute going to help with the promotion of the freezone for Aboriginals”

    He said “That’s outside of our mandate”

    He also got upset when I told him that I objected to his characterization of “Capital flowing to the highest rate of return in the freezone proposed, as “robbing” the non-free zones”

    I think I said something like “What… you are seriously suggesting that Capital be held “captive” in the non-free zones”?

    He harped on the fact that non-natives are not allowed to buy land on Indian Reserves, and that this meant that a capital market would never be possible.

    I said “There are market solutions to that, like bonds, trusts, escrow accounts, insurance”.

    He responded by saying “So what you would be promoting is some sort of insurance scheme”

    I said “I don’t particularly like your characterization of the use of trusts, bonds and escrow as a “scheme” but essentially yes… the issue of land ownership could easily be solved by such measures so as to indemnify businesses and investors from loss. 100 year leases also seem to be working nicely.

    He again characterized it as a “scheme” and said that these kind of “policy” suggestions were outside of the mandate of the Fraser Institute to get involved in promoting.

    Oh… the final haha factor was, the reason that I called this guy is because the Fraser Institute recently announced the creation of a new initiative to promote entrepreneurship in Canada… this new body that they are putting together has a mandate to investigate the environments and conditions by which entrepreneurship flourishes.

    My initial question to him was about this initiative and to ask whether or not they would be interested in looking at the model I proposed to create a free-zone on Indian Lands, with streamlined regulations and lower taxes than currently exist in Canada, as one such “environment” that would promote entrepreneurship and allow it to flourish.

    He said that he wasn’t the guy that had the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio. The guy who used to handle Aboriginal Affairs issues for this free-market institute wrote a book that basically advocated taking all the Indian Lands in Canada and cutting them up into little pieces and handing them out to people. However, when confronted with the fact that there are Indian Reserves where land-ownership is NOT communal, and that individuals and families had land holdings going back hundreds of years… they didn’t really much care… they felt it would simply be equitable to chop up these lands into little parcels and dole them out.

    When I confronted this other guy a couple of years ago by basically asking “So… let me get this straight… you want to promote property rights on indian reserves by passing policy that will deny the propery rights of individuals and families who do own their land, and then the government will appropriate that land, chop it up, parcel it up and hand it out to people who don’t own any land?

    He sat there in his chair, on National TV just open-mouthed and gaping.

    Like I said… none of these discussions would be surprising if I was talking to the Socialist Liberal government. I would expect them. But this is how depraved the “free-market” types are in Canada. Their most right-wing free-market think tank’s representatives don’t even seem to have a rudimentary grasp of what laissez-faire even is. Or if they do, they are totally unwilling to actually apply these principles when they are lobbying for free-market “policy”.

    Beck has that action down. I was laughing after I got off the phone with this Fraser Institute guy. Thinking about Billy’s comment on the subject last week.

    “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “policy” is just euphemasia for “you’re not authorized to think, so don’t even try it.”” – Billy Beck two-four

  2. Hey John, I just spent the last 15 minutes trying to get paypal to work. They want some kind of expanded use number.. or fee or something… and I’m not that keen on it. Is there a way to just mail you the money for a largest size Lung Tee?

  3. He responded that “A freezone” would “rob” capital from non-freezones and create unnatural distortions in the market.

    Color me unamazed.

    I’m mildly embarassed to have to point out, here, the problems with a socialist plan being touted on LRC (affiliated as it is with the Ludwig von Mises Institute), but I’m not at all surprised.

    Policy wonkery always ends up co-opting the wonks:

    Or if they do, they are totally unwilling to actually apply these principles when they are lobbying for free-market “policy”.

    Freedom is both difficult to implement and unpopular, thus movementarians generally tend to choose to tout something else, something more popular and easier.

    Like socialist plans.

  4. Meaghan, feel free to e-mail me at john (at) johnsabotta.com

    and I’ll send you an address. (My address at my website is no longer my address) Expect a certain extra delay.

    Incidentally, since you’re going to the trouble of writing a check and all, now is the perfect opportunity to get the AXE ME ABOUT COMMUNISM shirt ($21) the COLLECTOR’S LUNG ATTACKS PRINT ($25) and the CUSTOM LUNG ORIGINAL DRAWING ($40, see online store for details.)

    Thanks, and welcome to the happy world of lung merchandising!
    (And the happy world of me not starving!)

    Those who don’t mind Paypal are urged to once again check out the futuristic online store

  5. Anthony Gregory has an astute observation to make, as usual: More government border control will have many ancillary and unpleasant side-effects for the rest of us, and will only marginally stem the tide of incoming immigrants. Hoppe’s supporters should probably chew on this one a little.

  6. Hoppe’s supporters should probably chew on this one a little.

    The Hoppeans have invested far too much emotional capital into the idea of government borders to give up on it now.

  7. I agree that it’s not a very good idea for Austrians to get into the if, ands & buts of state action. First, Mises is right when he states that economic calculation is impossible under socialism, so why try? Second, it does allow the sort of valid criticism of LRC’s intentions by others, even if it’s just presented as an academic argument. Finally, state action always involves depriving one group or another of their rights, whether you’re talking about a Mexican’s natural right to do business with whom he chooses or American’s rights to defend their property against trespass. I will occasionally have discussions like these with Austrian friends, but it always ends up reducing to the Austrian solution, so again, why even try?

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