Argument: Free marketeers deduce from a false premise that markets explain humans

Issue Report: Libertarianism


Paul Starr. “The Meaning Of Privatization”. Yale Law and Policy Review. 1988 – “Together, the property rights and public choice schools show only that, if you start by assuming a purely individualistic model of human behavior and treat politics as if it were a pale imitation of the market, democracy will, indeed, make no sense.”

Robert Kuttner, founder of The American Prospect. “The Limits Of Markets”. The American Prospect. November 30th, 2002 – “There is at the core of the celebration of markets relentless tautology. If we begin by assuming that nearly everything can be understood as a market and that markets optimize outcomes, then everything leads back to the same marketize! If, in the event, a particular market doesn’t optimize, there is only one possible conclusion; it must be insufficiently market-like. This is a no-fail system for guaranteeing that theory trumps evidence. Should some human activity not, in fact, behave like an efficient market, it must logically be the result of some interference that should be removed. It does not occur that the theory mis-specifies human behavior.”[1]