There is no general framework of morality or justice that supports laissez-faire capitalism. This is a problem of course for those who wish to argue on behalf of it. When you talk to such people, a familiar argumentative pattern emerges that I have come to call Capitalism Whack-A-Mole.
Someone playing Capitalism Whack-A-Mole moves seamlessly between [...]
Scenario 1: Work + No Pay
Suppose I do work, but do not receive any compensation for the work. This can happen because an employer did not pay me what I was supposed to get paid. It can also happen because I do work that does not get paid, including things like caring for [...]
Although I don’t do foreign news events, I actually am very well-acquainted with the ins and outs of so-called Just War Theory, having intensely studied it many years ago. To call it a “theory” is to give it too much credit of course. It is nothing more than a list of discrete rules [...]
I found this hilariously exasperated piece from Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry on Tumblr while I was browsing the #pajamaboy tag. In it, Gobry says the problem with the legal realist point that all economic regimes are totally made up social constructs is that it denies people’s rights. What rights? Well, you know, the “inherent, natural, [...]
In the Wall Street Journal, Thane Rosenbaum opines on the civilian status of the killed Gazans:
The asymmetry is complicated even further by the status of these civilians. Under such maddening circumstances, are the adults, in a legal and moral sense, actual civilians? To qualify as a civilian one has to do more [...]
Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, the poor man’s James Poulous, has an artistic piece against legal realism. For those unaware, legal realism is a descriptive account of economic institutions that recognizes that every single one of them are made up by legal and political bodies, including property law, contract law, patent law, copyright law, commercial law, [...]
I wrote one post about Just War Theory about a year ago. In it, I rehash a paper I wrote about the topic many years ago, in which I argued that the normative justification for the feudal-era principle of non-combatant immunity no longer applies to countries with liberal democratic governments. I still think [...]
Finally, incentivizing work is consistent with neo-classical, non-paternalistic framework when you remember that the government on net disincentivizes work and employment. Due to the progressive tax and transfer system, and the variety of implicit marginal tax rates people face, the status quo is that many people are probably working an inefficiently [...]
There are three types of governing regimes:
Lawless — There are no rules preventing people from acting on the bodies of others. There are no rules preventing people from acting on pieces of the world.
Grab World — There are rules preventing people from acting on the bodies of others. There are no rules [...]
L. T. Hobhouse and John Locke are two great British liberals separated by two centuries. But they both saw the coercion inherent in economic inequality. They both saw the way in which the person who has much can dominate and subordinate the person who has little. And they both found it reprehensible, something that must [...]