Society Versus Individuals Versus Markets.
Part of the "Critiques of Libertarianism" site.
Last updated 10/25/07.
Most libertarians myopically focus on individuals: indeed, they often
deny that society exists at all. The problem is
that individuals reside in an environment called society, which is
composed of other people behaving in ways that affect how the
individuals will act. This society is a commons. Libertarians seek
to disenfranchise people from being able to regulate the commons they
must reside in. Unregulated commons have major problems, starting
with economic inefficiency.
When liberals talk about "the good of society", it is not because
"society" receives the benefit. It is because we receive the benefit
from living in a society we view as good, just as we receive the
benefit from living in a healthful environment.
Private influence on the social commons is getting to be a larger
problem as the power of multinational corporations grow.
Marriage and Morals
article points out one of the practical reasons to prohibit polygamy.
New York Times
article describes the growing problems of income inequality and
plutocracy, problems libertarians do not recognize. From
The Unofficial Paul Krugman Archive.
Are Markets Wise?
Markets are wise the way gravity is wise. There are times when they do
and don't serve public interests.
Friedman Or Free Men?
George Walford describes how libertarian schemes still restrict freedom,
and how important it is for government to restrict market freedoms such
Querying Economic Orthodoxy
Angus Sibley's collection of monthly articles and other publications
opposing libertarian market-worshipping economics.
The links here are to
Amazon.com, through their associates program, primarily because of the
review information. Books without links are generally out of print,
and can often be easily found at
AddAll Used and Out Of Print Search.
Good sites for bargain shopping for sometimes expensive new books are
Online Bookstore Price Comparison
AddAll Book Search and Price Comparison.
Both of those list applicable coupons. Another is
"The Bigness Complex"
Pantheon Books, 1987.
(opposes libertarian antitrust position)
"The Economics of the Welfare State"
Stanford University Press, 1999.
A thorough overview of the real world economics of market failures and
Click here for a review.
Peter G. Brown
"Restoring Public Trust"
A progressive refutation and alternative to Milton Friedman's "Free To Choose".
"Profit Over People: Neoliberalism And Global Order"
Seven Stories Press 1999. Places the current ascendsncy of neoliberalism in
historic context as yet another form of oppression by elites.
John Kenneth Galbraith
"The Good Society: the Humane Agenda"
Houghton Mifflin Co. 1997. The "why"s of liberalism, illustrating the
competing goals in society and how to resolve them compassionately.
A book of pragmatic compromise, that asks what is wanted by people rather
than what ideology demands.
"No Logo: Taking aim at the Brand Bullies"
Picado USA 2000. Discusses the ill effects of allowing popular culture to be
shaped by branding in the quest for corporate profits.
"Everything for Sale: The Virtues and Limits of Markets"
Why mixed economies would outperform pure markets. Essential for countering
libertarian economic arguments.
Charles E. Lindblom
"The Market System: What It Is, How It Works, and What To Make of It"
Yale Univ. Pr. 2001.
The big picture of what markets do well and poorly, their benefits and harms.
"The Cult of Impotence: Selling the Myth of Powerlessness in the Global Economy"
Why economic globalization and its effects are not inevitable, and why
democratic government can and should ameliorate those effects.
Margaret Jane Radin
"Contested Commodities: The Trouble with Trade in Sex, Children, Body Parts,
and Other Things"
An examination of how non-market values are important to personhood, and how
social and economic inequality threaten those values, necessitating regulation.
"Coercion: Why We Listen to What 'They' Say"
The coercive and manipulative arms race between marketers and the public.
"Development As Freedom"
A Nobel prize-winning economist explains elimination of "capability deprivation"
in five categories as being crucial to freedom. Shows libertarian ideas of
economic freedom to be dreadfully incomplete for liberty or freedom.
"Ideology and Utopia in the Social Philosophy of the Libertarian Economists (Contributions in Economics and Economic History, No. 223)"
(Greenwood Publishing Group 2001). Challenges libertarian definitions of
freedom and democracy, and shows how libertarianism undermines democracy,
civil liberties, and social equality.
Copyright 2007 by Mike Huben ( firstname.lastname@example.org ).
This document may be freely distributed for non-commercial purposes if it is reproduced in its textual entirety, with this notice intact.