Argument: Libertarianism would not provide for essential public services (i.e. roads)

Issue Report: Libertarianism


Mike Huben, paraphrasing Anatole France – “How noble libertarianism, in its majestic equality, that both rich and poor are equally prohibited from peeing in the privately owned streets (without paying), sleeping under the privately owned bridges (without paying), and coercing bread from its rightful owners!”[1]

Hayek. “Law, Legislation, and Liberty”. 1982 – “Far from advocating a ‘minimal state’, we find it unquestionable that in an advanced society government ought to use its power of raising funds by taxation to provide a number of services which for various reasons cannot be provided or cannot be provided adequately by the market.”[2]

Hayek, New Studies – “I am the last person to deny that increased wealth and the increased density of population have enlarged the number of collective needs which government can and should statisfy.”[3]

Mike Huben – “Market failure does not mean that we don’t expect the market to provide any examples, but rather that we expect it to provide less than the economically efficient amount. For example, there are well known market failures for roads, yet privately created roads do exist. The issue is that privatizing roads will result in too little. The record of history bears this out.”[4]

“Libertarianism”. Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy – “A fourth objection to full self-ownership is that it (like rights in general) can lead to inefficient outcomes. Where there are externalities or public goods (such as police protection), each person may be better off if some of each person’s rights are infringed (e.g., if each person is required to provide service each week on a police patrol). Given the problems generated by prisoners’ dilemmas and other kinds of market failure, in large societies it will typically be impossible to obtain everyone’s consent to perform such services. Many, however, would argue that it is nonetheless permissible to force them into providing services (in violation of full self-ownership) as long as everyone benefits appropriately.”