As a libertarian, this article is a positive step. The “profits” of these military contract companies are not real profits anyway, because it is the government that is paying them, not private businesses that can go bankrupt. So the means of payment is not a depiction of real value.
Instead of a bunch of socialist platitudes in replace of military spending, however, we should simply lower taxes and allow individuals to freely spend their money as they desire. Freedom is the answer, not the replacement of one socialist program (military spending) with another (the ever expansion of the welfare state).
Cool. So you can insider-trade based on War or Peace plans? I’ll put my MIC PUT Option on Trump Peace! War? Cha-ching! Peace? Cha-ching! I’m betting that dead bodies are still the most profitable, but why not make a little scratch beforehand?
In other words let’s just have a utopia where your formula works! Oh wait, we tried that since the '80s and now your businesses are monopolies that own the government and the people. What could possibly go wrong?
Actually, the reality is the opposite. Due to the opening of global markets and free enterprise in previously communist and dictatorial nation states, we have seen global abject poverty cut in half. Human progress has accelerated in the last 50 years faster than any other point in human existence, and we would’ve expanded even faster if there were less Fidel Castro’s, Hugo Chavez’s and Kim Jung-Un’s of the world leading many countries.
“Fidel Castro’s, Hugo Chavez’s and Kim Jung-Un” Your go-to dictators are powerful indeed if they can control the global economy. Which suggests that your argument is ideologically driven. What the libertarian fantasy doesn’t take into account is that the true beneficiaries of the ideology are not average people but oligarchs. In fact, the libertarian myth that financial transactions can replace actual social relations (relations which underpin and are required for markets to even exist) is absurd and only proffered by neoliberal utopians. The economic successes and failures of the past half century are intertwined with many specific social and economic circumstances and cannot be distilled down to a simple formalistic ideology. Utopian libertarianism should be equated with ideologies like Communism that offer “systems so perfect, no one will need to be good” to paraphrase TS Elliott–and it is just as dangerous.
I’ll start with the first sentence. No, the beneficiaries of a free society are the lower and middle class. There will always be a rich class in every society. Even communist societies have rich people; they are just well-connected with or within the central government sector. The only economic system that finally gave the perpetually poor the same opportunities as anyone else was free enterprise.
On the second sentence, I think you have an incredibly distorted understanding of what libertarian economics is. There is no myth of financial transactions replacing actual social relations. All transactions of every kind involve one individual trading with another; that is inherently social. It doesn’t matter if one individual is trading a cow for three chickens or if a bank is making periodic swap payments to a counterparty in an interest rate swap. The first form of transaction isn’t inherently “anti-libertarian.” It is only highly inefficient. Trading with currency (as in, using money), is far more efficient than pure barter of physical goods for numerous obvious reasons, the most obvious of which being that the currency is a store of value and constant, whereas each cow and chicken are idiosyncratic in value.
While I’m able to list off dozens of historically awful dictators who have ruled over communist/socialist countries, it will be impossible for you to provide an equal list of leaders of free societies.
You proclaim “free society” without providing any reasonable explanation as to what constitutes a “free society” or how that freedom is maintained. This is the inherent fallacy of your argument. Most libertarians I know immediately go into an explanation about financial transactions and the rule of law as if you could simply make a proclamation that this utopian society would grow out of transactional relationships. And yes, there is an enormous difference between relationships of exchange in a local farmers market and those of the contemporary financialized economy. In an actual market people are face to face and accountable to each other. More importantly, the civility of that space amounts to a kind of “nudum pactum” that precedes the market itself. A market cannot exist without a preexisting social understanding as to the limits of behavior. The use of money and credit radically alter the market and convert it into an entirely different thing. The financilized economy abstracts and separates the individual from the actual social and environmental effects of their transactions. Claiming, as libertarians usually do, that somehow the abstract and disconnected “market” will somehow self-correct is obviously false if you simply look around at the environmental destruction and social pathologies like exploitation and slavery.
This is when libertarians typically bring in “the rule of law” and “contracts” as a panacea. But the abstract market is inherently susceptible to subversion and criminal behavior particularly because it is so difficult to monitor legalistically. Laws are meaningless when a criminal elite is in charge of the system, whether they are Utopian Communists or Utopian Libertarians. If there is no political outlet that can enable the system to be corrected it will devolve into oligarchy, authoritarianism, and despotism. It’s happening right now around the world–particularly because neoliberalism has naturalized the utopian ideology of libertarianism. So at the bottom of this debate lies an equivalency between totalizing utopian ideologies like communism and free-market fundamentalism. They lead to the same destination–authoritarianism–specifically because they choose to radicalize half of the truth about human relations and leave the rest to faith.